If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten that we belong to each other. ~Mother Teresa
The eldest of six, with four sisters and one brother, Aime and her siblings had to leave their home in Kinshasa, Congo’s capital city, and move 940 miles east to Bukavu. Both their parents had died, and the six children had to move to the eastern city to stay with Aime’s father’s family.
Moving was very difficult. “I am having a tough time here, because nobody is taking care of us. In Kinshasa it was okay because we had parents who were taking care of us,” Aime told us in a small office behind the Bukavu Sewing Workshop.
“I went to school, but in the third year of secondary school, I had to quit, I was not able to keep going. When I was in school, I dreamed of becoming somebody who could help other people.”
Aime discovered the Sewing Workshop in Bukavu when she saw a group of women together on the street talking. Curious as to why they were gathered, she approached them, and met Amini, Amani’s wife and the lead trainer at the workshop. When Aime learned that girls and women were being trained as seamstresses, for no charge, to be able to earn their own income, she asked to join the program. No, it was too late in the term, Amini told her. But, “When I explained my problems, when I explained my situation, that I had come from Kinshasa, that I had lost my parents, she [Amini] welcomed me, even though it was a little bit late.“
Aime is 25, and some of the girls in the sewing workshop are as young as 15. “In the program, [age does not matter] older, younger, we are all one, we are all friends,” Aime explained.
She was eager to share her goals with us, dreams that had not changed since she was a secondary school student, her hopes for an education to share with others. “As soon as I graduate from this program, I am going to gather all the orphans and other people around me who are unable to take care of themselves, and help them, to create conditions where I am able to help them. I don’t want to keep what I’m learning for myself, I want to make sure I train other people who have difficulties.“
To many, Aime seems to have nothing, but to her, an education and vocational training has empowered her to live her dream of serving others with her knowledge. With her generous spirit, she’s always thinking of others, even when asked what she would say to you, the partners of the workshop through Action Kivu: “Thank you. We love you. [You] should not keep on helping only this group, but think of other people who are suffering, too.”
(Photo by Cate Haight)