Category Page: Education Assistance Programs

An Education: From Star Student to Teacher [Congo]

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Whether it is reading the tape measure in the Sewing Workshop or properly spacing vegetables on our teaching farms or measuring flour in our Baking Program, Action Kivu’s Literacy Program is the entry point to all our work in vocational training! Here, women and girls denied a formal education learn to read and write and become literate in numeracy, giving them the tools needed to learn a new skill, and start a small business to earn income.

Read more stories of how your donation is an investment in the women and kids of Congo and how it changes lives: the life one more girl, one more student, one more woman who finds hope and passes it forward, helping to break the cycle of extreme poverty and inequality.
  • Meet Sikitu and Neema, at work in the Shared Farm program. The women have been tending a compost pile made of grass, domestic waste, and soil for one year, raking it over every four to six months, depending on how fast it composts. 35 years old, Sikitu is the proud mother of eight, but two of her children died of malaria when they were 13 and 3. Sikitu never got the chance to go to school, and is now part of both our Literacy and OFFA program. Mama Sikitu works beside Neema, who at 18 years old is one of 9 children who did not get the opportunity for an education. Neema is also a student in the Literacy Program, the entry point for all Action Kivu’s vocational training courses.
  • Meet Aimerciane, who graduated the Sewing Workshop in 2012, and is proud to report that with the sewing machine she received at graduation, she started her own business. Four years later, with weddings, special events, and regular customers, she averages earning $60 USD a week.
  • Meet Adolphine, who is 60 and the mother of six. Two of her daughters are married, four of her children are in school, and Adolphine is now a student in Action Kivu’s Literacy Program.“Women did not have any right to go to school,” she says. “But I liked studies so much. I never lost hope that one day I would study.”

Meet Brigitte: Stories of Hope and a New Future in Congo

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Read more about Brigitte in the following stories:

To partner with Action Kivu, click here.

 

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A Birthday Video for our Family: Action Kivu Field Report

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It’s Action Kivu’s birthday today, and to celebrate being 6 years old, we want to thank each and every one of you who has partnered with us and invested in the women, children, and communities of Congo!

Your generosity continues to make a meaningful impact in the lives of the people in Congo. Action Kivu began partnering with Amani Matabaro and his non-profit ABFEC in 2010. For five years before that, Amani / ABFEC had been operating a Sewing Workshop and Education Assistance Program out of his own pocket. In 2005, there were 7 women in the Sewing Workshop, and 15 children being sent to school. After launching Action Kivu and growing our family of donors, we have now graduated 236 girls and women from the Sewing Workshop, giving them the machines, necessary tools, and financial literacy to start their own small businesses, and are registering new students for the Class of 2017 now! With a grant from Jewish World Watch and your donations, over 400 children are now enrolled in school.

With your monthly donations and annual gifts, we’ve grown from those two programs to a variety of educational, vocational, and community building programs: 245 girls and women are in the Literacy Program, over 100 women and girls are enrolled in the Vocational Training Programs including basket weaving and bread baking. More than 100 families have been given goats and the animal husbandry support to breed them, to give back the kid to the next family awaiting a goat. Goats are a symbol of friendship and deepening connection, and a part of the circle of organic farming in our Shared Farm / Organic Food for All program, in which 180 women and girls are learning to farm, and growing healthy food for their families and to sell at the market.

With your support, we send a stipend for a nurse to teach HIV / AIDS awareness courses, family planning, and education to prevent and treat common diseases like malaria.

Without you, our Action Kivu family, none of this would be possible. Amani sends this message from Congo to honor the 6th Anniversary of our partnership:

“I’d like to thank everyone who has so far supported the work we do here via Action Kivu! That is the way to build a beloved community, to give hope to those whose hope has been stolen by the forces of evil. The support of our work is light in darkness, and communities feel a sense of worth that someone cares, and takes action.”

Visit our programs through a beautiful video filmed and edited by Hélène Estèves:

Thank you! Merci! Asante sana! We are grateful for you being part of our family, playing a part in creating the beloved community, taking action to invest in women and children and a brighter, more peaceful world for us all.

Read more about the impact of your giving:

New People, New Actions, New Congo: Children’s Christmas Celebration & New Year Resolutions

Christmas came a few days early for the kids in Mumosho, DRC, thanks to you, our family of supporters in the U.S. and around the world. Santa arrived in the form of our founder and leader, Papa Amani, as he is known to the kids, bearing bags of shoes and clothes for over 250 children, many for whom this is the only clothing they will receive for the new year.

Papa Amani celebrates with the kids of Mumosho, Congo!

Papa Amani celebrates with the kids of Mumosho, Congo!

 

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Volunteers sort clothing for the children.

Older students, kids who have grown up in school because of Amani’s Education Assistance program, volunteered to help. They were eager to play their part, to pay it forward by giving their time to the organization that has helped them stay in school, to find the inspiration and practical help to follow their dreams, and to encourage the dreams of the younger students, like Orelie.

Currently halfway through the first year at secondary school, Orelie has a vision for Congo, and created the slogan that Amani embraced for ABFEK, our partner organization: “New People, New Actions, New Congo.” Orelie’s favorite part of school is community, “when we come together as brothers and sisters during breaks, playing and singing.”

Your resolution to partner with the people of Congo is already turning Orelie’s vision into reality. Through your support, over 400 children are attending school through our Education Assistance Program for vulnerable children; 15 teen mothers and their babies have housing and vocational training after being abandoned by their families because of rape; over 90 families are part of our growing animal husbandry program; 245 women are learning to read and write through our Literacy Program; 180 women are learning sustainable farming, growing food to sell and to feed their families on our two shared farms; 236 women have learned the skill and trade of sewing, starting their own businesses, earning income to feed and send their kids to school, helping to break the cycle of extreme poverty.

At the playground.

At the playground.

Celebrating Christmas and the New Year, some of the kids swarmed the playground, legs kicking to swing high, hands gripping tightly as they spun in circles on the merry-go-round, watching to see who could roll an old tire the furthest and fastest. They stopped to eat a warm meal of rice, beans, and peas, served by the older students, including Brigitte, who joined the Teen Mothers Program three years ago after she was raped, pregnant before her 14th birthday.

Shunned by her relatives and others in the village, Brigitte found compassion and love at the Mumosho Women’s Center. A strong young girl, Amani tells us, she finished the Teen Mothers Program empowerment sessions and decided to join the Education Assistance Program. Through our partner grant from Jewish World Watch, she was re-enrolled in school. Today Brigitte is in the fifth grade of secondary school, with one year to go before she graduates. Her goal is to attend university and law school, to defend and protect the oppressed, girls like herself only three years ago.

A Christmas & New Year Year meal, served by the older students.

A Christmas & New Year Year meal, served by the older students.

Your support is creating real transformation in individual lives of the children and women of Congo, and creating a stronger community of generosity and trust. When Brigitte volunteered to serve food to the kids, she called them her brothers and sisters, because they accepted her and loved her.

Celebrating Christmas and ringing in 2016 with new hope, the children in Mumosho, Congo send you their thanks.

They took turns drawing, sketching, creating.  ”I am dreaming of becoming a pilot and that’s why I am drawing a plane,” says Borauzima Daniel.  “On board this plane I am sending my best wishes for Christmas and the New Year to the Action Kivu supporters who are making a huge difference in my everyday life.”

 

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Merci Christmas Tree

Read more about the kids, women, and community we partner with in Congo:

Meet Mamy in a video from our Sewing Graduation Day, 2015
Meet Cikwanine, Nadine, & Chanceline – three teen moms who are back in school!
Meet Claudine, and read her story of coming “back to life”
Meet Grandma Mwayuma and see some of the children at play
Meet Amani through the Enough Project’s “I Am Congo” video series
Meet the goats in our animal husbandry program, Your Goat is My Goat

To partner with Action Kivu, click here!

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''I am so happy again today because the red t-shirt I am wearing was given to me last year at the Christmas Celebration.  I have nobody since my father passed away 4 years ago. I am in school because of your support, every year I get a new pair of shorts and a shirt or a T-shirt and a pair of shoes." ~ Arsene

”I am so happy again today because the red t-shirt I am wearing was given to me last year at the Christmas Celebration. I have nobody since my father passed away 4 years ago. I am in school because of your support, every year I get a new pair of shorts and a shirt or a T-shirt and a pair of shoes.” ~ Arsene

"I only expect to get a new pair shoes every Christmas because I am part of this program. I am so happy and grateful to God." ~ Baraka

“I only expect to get a new pair shoes every Christmas because I am part of this program. I am so happy and grateful to God.” ~ Baraka

 

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Investing in Congo: Sowing Seeds for Women Launching Small Businesses

With your support, Action Kivu is sowing seeds in Congo: literal seeds in our Organic Food for All Program, virtual seeds of education through our Literacy Program for women and Education Assistance for children, seed money for small businesses run by women.  And we are already seeing the harvest of lives transformed: women sharing stories of how they can support their families through their new sewing skills, feeding their families with vegetables grown on the farm, and starting small businesses with investments from people like you, our partners!

The mother of five children, Namuto was abandoned by her abusive husband, and left to care for the kids on her own.  Having heard about the vocational training programs at the Mumosho Women’s Center, she arrived, hoping to join the Sewing Workshop, to learn a trade to earn income to support her family. Upon learning that the training took 8 months, Namuto instead joined our partner ABFEK’s Micro Finance Program, learning financial literacy and starting a small business selling smaller food items at the market: groundnut flour used  to season food, cooking oil, and palm oil. After paying back her loan, she recently joined the Small Business Seed Project sponsored by long-time Action Kivu / ABFEK supporters from Rhode Island and California.

With $100 of seed money, Namuto purchased more small goods to sell, and works hard every day to ensure her children are fed daily and can go to school. Her third son is pictured helping her grind the groundnut to ensure they do not lose any customers that day.

A donation to Action Kivu is an investment in the future of Congo, supporting our vocational, educational, and community building projects and helping a woman like Namuto start a small business so she can feed, clothe, and send her kids to school, transforming not only her life, but the future leaders of Congo!

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