Category Page: Food for Thought | Growing Up Healthy

Growing Food and Community in Congo: We work faster together! We’re like family

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Mapendo and Faida share a plot of farmland in Action Kivu’s Organic Food for All Program.

“We work faster together! We’re like family.”

Learn more about Action Kivu’s work in growing food and community and combating malnutrition here.

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Progress and Growth in Congo: Meet Farmer Beatrice

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Meet Beatrice Ntankwinja – mother of five, grandmother of one, proud farmer feeding her family. Beatrice is one of the 83 women who now farm their own plot of land at the Action Kivu shared farm, learning sustainable, organic farming from our agronomist, Mukengere. Each woman tends her own organic compost for fertilizer, and is learning how to use a mix of grasses to combat pests and insects.

Thank you to our partners whose generosity is making a lasting impact in Congo! To invest in the future of food security and combat severe malnutrition in this corner of Congo, partner with Action Kivu today.

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Students as Teachers: Jewish World Watch & Lessons from Congo Kids

We are so thankful for Jewish World Watch, their work, and their partnership with Amani and ABFEK’s educational assistance program!  Read an excerpt from JWW’s recent visit by Diane Kabat to learn about how funding education is changing these kids lives, giving hope, and shaping the future of a peaceful Congo.  The kids in the education assistance program speak with confidence about their goals, teaching us never to give up hope.

“As we leave Bukavu, we must say ‘au revoir’ to our dear friend, guide and translator, Amani.  He has been with us every day and has managed every detail on the ground with Naama in the JWW office. Amani makes things happen here in Bukavu, not only for his JWW partners, but for the people in the South Kivu region.

“…One of the successful projects that Jewish World Watch sponsors with ABFEK is the Educational Assistance Program.  Yesterday, for over an hour, we once again maneuvered the difficult hillside roads of Bukavu to Amani’s village of Mumosho (comprised of 6 districts) to see ABFEK. JWW has sponsored 52 secondary students (50% girls, 50% boys) during the last school year (2012-2013) by paying school fees. In addition, we supported 113 younger primary school students with school supplies and uniforms.

“After another celebratory greeting, we gather in the community room to meet the older students, many of whom are ‘double orphans,’ a phrase used to describe the loss of both parents to the war.  All of us are eager to share our stories.  The first student to speak is Bamanye, a dynamic 16 year old girl who says (translated from French), ‘I finished the last school year without difficulty (fees paid).  I was able to concentrate on my studies and work hard.  I want to be useful for society.’

“We are all very surprised when she continues to speak in English, ‘My mother has to care for everyone by herself and work very hard.  But, she does not see much improvement for her family.  She prefers the ABFEK action for her children.  She knows that it will improve the well-being of women and children in Kivu.’  Bamanye thanks us for sponsoring her this school year, and hopes we will continue.  After hearing from about 20 students, we are left with the feeling that these teenagers, all wanting to be lawyers, teachers, doctors and engineers, will be able to make societal improvements for their generation and the generations to follow.”

If you’d like to support the education assistance program, consider a monthly donation! Just $10 / month sends a secondary student to school, giving kids, and especially girls, previously denied an education, the opportunity to change their lives and impact their communities. 

The Jewish World Watch team with students and Amani, and our new Action Kivu intern Shatreen.

Read more from our blog:

Top of the Class: Girls Sent to School by Action Kivu Supporters
Back to School Stories: Hope and Thanks from Congo

Mi Casa Su Casa … My Goat is Your Goat

50 women gathered at the Mumosho Women’s Center to meet their goats. Given to each through Action Kivu’s partner ABFEK, the goal is to breed these lovely lady goats with a billy goat, to improve the milking productivity, and to grow the goat family.

When a baby goat is born, the family caring for the goat will return the baby to ABFEK to pass it on to another neighbor who is waiting.  Paying forward the good in their lives, providing more milk to drink and sell, the community will grow stronger, Amani explains.  Which is why the project is called, “My goat is your goat.” 

Creating community is crucial in our work.  But sometimes, in the midst of life, it can be easy to forget the basics:  “When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.” ~ Robert Fulghum (All I Really Needed to Know I Learned from Kindergarten)

To hold hands with the women in eastern Congo, help grow the community and the goat families, please consider a donation to Action Kivu!  All funds donated are tax deductible in the U.S., and go directly to the programs on the ground in the Congo.

Connect with Congo: Women who Weave

Walking out the door to the local market to fill up your cupboard with locally grown fruits and vegetables  – don’t you wish you could pick up one of these beautiful, hand-made baskets for your market day?

The women at the Mumosho Women’s Center have begun to learn basket weaving.  Depending on the size, they can sell these for 3, 5, 6, or 8 dollars.  A bundle of the colorful cords that are woven into the patterns costs between $50 and $70, used to create approximately 12 large and 2 medium baskets, that sell at $8.00 USD and $5.00 USD, respectively. 

Connect with the women in Congo — post a comment or tweet @ActionKivu with your words of support for the women in eastern Congo, weaving their way to empowerment through earning regular income, sending their children to school, and being the change we all want to see in Congo!  We’ll send your thoughts forward, where your words will be printed out and translated, posted in the women’s center to encourage the women on their journeys.

To support the weaving women, consider a monthly donation! Every dollar makes a difference in the lives of the women learning to read & write, to sew, to weave, to farm.