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Sewing Workshop Graduation: Independence Day Comes Early in Congo

The people of Congo will celebrate their Independence Day this Saturday, but for the women of the Bukavu and Mumosho Sewing Workshops, independence day came a few days early.

Accepting their hard-earned sewing kits that include a pedal-powered machine, 60 women in eastern Congo celebrated their graduation on the 22nd of June, and celebrated the possibility of financial and societal independence that comes from earning one’s own living. With the gifts of the sewing kits, made possible by your donations through Action Kivu, the women will start their own small businesses, to earn the ability to provide food for their families and education for their children. They are individual stories of inspiration in a community looking for hope amidst continued violence and uncertainty.

Independence also comes in the form of further education for women of the community. In response to the needs and requests of the women in surrounding villages, Amani has rented a larger space for the Sewing Workshop in Mumosho, which will include a place for graduates to work as a collective, as well as a new literacy program to teach women in the community to read and write.

Proud Mama and her daughter who earned a sewing certificate.

“I am very proud of my daughter,” said one of the mothers present at the ceremony. “This sewing certificate is a symbol of victory and respect. And I will be the first to register in the literacy program because I was not happy with the last November 2011 presidential elections, when I asked people to help me vote but they did it according to their own will. I want to make sure next time I am able to read the name of the candidate of my own choice.”

It is because of your support that these women are finding their voices, their talents, and ways to live independently, to break free from the cultural restrictions that have bound them in poverty. The women of Mumosho and Bukavu send their deep gratitude and respect for your generosity, and share their excitement for the future empowerment of women and girls in Eastern Congo. Remember them as they celebrate Independence Day, and what that means for them as they work toward peace in Congo. 

Sewing graduates walk the main Mumosho road toward graduation.
Amani, friends, and a Falling Whistles guest greet the graduates.
Who can forget Ernata’s smile? Thank you to those who made it possible for her to receive her sewing kit!  Read Ernata’s story here.

Read the story of new graduate Evelyn here!  If you’d like to know how to partner with Amani’s work via Action Kivu, click here.  All of your donation, minus nominal banking fees, goes directly to the work on the ground, empowering and educating the women and children of eastern Congo.

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