Congo, (Democratic Republic) Africa
Partner:The UMC, East Congo Annual Conference
Describe the need affecting the community.
DRC currently ranks 186 out of 187 countries on the Human Development Index. The country is often described as the worst place to live as a woman, partly because rape has been used as a weapon because of regional unrest since the genocide in Rwanda and over the vast mineral wealth within Eastern Congo. Women in Bukavu have few options. Culturally, they are not considered worthy of education. Once they have children, oftentimes as a result of rape, they are on the bottom rim of society. Women and girls are used for hard labor. The people who live in Bukavu are without infrastructure because of the war. Women specifically have virtually no opportunity, no education, no future.
How will this Advance project help to address the need?
In the months before our 8 month sewing school program culminates toward graduation, women from around the area start gathering at our building. They are desperate to learn a skill and have something to do. This is why we started offshoot programs to teach women how to style hair and make baskets. We then interview the hundreds of candidates, choosing 40 (up from 30 in past years) to begin our program. We offer these women the opportunity to learn the skill of sewing, empowering them with self-esteem and a hand up to support themselves and their children. After graduation, we help the women start their own businesses, forever changing the trajectory of their lives.
Describe the primary goal of the project.
The mission of Congo Restoration is to revitalize the Democratic Republic of Congo, one village at a time, restoring hope and dignity by empowering women and children who have been brutalized by war. By investing deeply in the women and children we work with, we are creating leaders who will change their country from within. We also work toward the slow cultural shift to create respect for women here. For the individual women and children who are in our program, we forever change the trajectory of their lives.
Describe the change you would like to see in the community as a result of this Advance project.
? We monitor the number of women who graduate from our program. ? We monitor the careers of our graduates as they start their own businesses first within our sewing school building, then on their own in the community. ? We monitor how our graduates give back. All of our graduates teach other women to sew, passing on the skills we have given them. ? We meet with our orphaned students monthly, along with the extended families who have taken them in. We meet with their teachers and keep up with their grades. We plan that each one will finish school, most going through to university.
Budget and Financial Information
Annual Advance Financial Goal
Local Financial Support
Greenland Hills UMC Market
Keller UMC Market
Climb for Congo annual event
Color for the Congo fundraiser
Sewing store fundraiser
Rent for sewing school
Christmas gifts for children
Sewing school materials (fabric, thread, etc.)
Sewing school salaries
Graduation expenses (sewing machines and kits)