“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”
~ Mahatma Gandhi
Asking the women of eastern Congo what their hopes and dreams are for the future proved to be a difficult question. They must focus on today, Amani explained. On finding food and feeding their children today. On where they will sleep tonight.
A heartbreaking revelation for those of us, so comfortable in our today that we make plans for years ahead, and read self-help books to help us live in the present moment. The women we met in Mumosho and Bukavu didn’t have the time or the emotional capacity to answer that question.
That is changing, however. As the women see their daughters excelling in school, thanks to Action Kivu’s education assistance, they begin to hope for the future of their children. That hope ignites a spark of what could be in their own lives. As we previously shared one mama’s words from the Sewing Workshop graduation: “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.”
Other women echo her drive, and are now learning to read and write in Mumosho, where there are now three literacy classes, with a total of 80 students. At age 17, Tumaini wasn’t sent to school because she is a girl. “I am proud to be part of this group,” she says. “I want to learn how to read and write. Many times I have difficulty taking medicines because I cannot read,I always need someone to explain them to me.” She is dedicated to her studies, especially to be able to vote a leader of her own choice.
This is a group of very determined young girls, forced to drop out because they did not have money to pay for school. Some were victims of domestic and gender-based violence, and chances were given to boys in their families. They want ABFEK | Action Kivu to help them learn to read and write, to fulfill their dreams of passing the primary school tests to begin secondary school.
Action Kivu is currently able to send only $1500 USD a month to support all these programs that ABFEK runs in eastern Congo – and your donation will help us sustain the current programs, and the more we raise, the more girls we can send to school, the more women we can teach to read and write, the more women we can include in the sewing workshops to learn a trade. Please consider a monthly donation.
We’re excited to share the women’s stories and progress with you here, and to ask you to partner with them. If you have words of encouragement, please share them here in the comments, or via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will forward them to Amani, to share with the students! If you’d like to include a photo of yourself, please do, and Amani will post with your note, reminding the women and children that they are not alone.