We hear this story over and over from the sewing students and recent alumni – how being a part of a community, learning marketable skills, and embracing their equality as women is opening new doors for hope, for planning for the future. Sara, whose father died in the conflict, only attended school through grade 5 of elementary, as her mother couldn’t afford the fees. Now 20 and a mother to a three-year-old, Sara lives at the Teen Mother’s Center, supported by Jewish World Watch and their partnership with Amani’s work, and is a part of the Sewing Workshop, Class of 2018, thanks to our Action Kivu family of donors. Hope has been restored through living in community with the other teen mothers, and in her sisterhood of sewing students and the graduates who are modeling the way to earning income and creating a new life.
“Being here has taken me out of danger,” Sara told us. “Being with others has helped me balance my thoughts and feelings,” Sara told us. She had been desperate, but now, “living with others in community gives me hope, I can focus on tomorrow.”
This is a marked difference from when we began Action Kivu. On a visit to Congo in 2011, when we asked the first cohorts of students in the Sewing Workshop what they hoped to do with their new machine and skills, the question was often met with silence. Action Kivu’s Founding Director Amani Matabaro paused in his translation, and explained, for most of these girls and women, they do not know how to hope for the future. They need to focus on survival for today: how will they feed their children? Will they be safe tonight?
Your investment in Action Kivu’s community building work is changing lives, opening the door for the women and girls to step through with their brilliance and determination, bringing back hope and planning for a brighter future for themselves and their children.
The impact of your support is palpable in Congo. It is seen in the smiles of the women as they work. It is heard in their voices as they share their stories, hopes, and plans with ease. Please share these stories with others in your community, to help us continue to provide opportunities for peace and hope to flourish!