"I want to enable, to put confidence inside of women, to transform the seed in their mind"
Keeping Girls in School
Before we started making “Stay in School” feminine hygiene kits, girls were being married off at the age of 14 or 15. After falling behind from missing several days of school each month, they’d give up and go work the field with mom, while dad shopped them for the wedding dowry. Thus, the vicious cycle of ignorance and servitude of girls continued generation after generation. But we’ve started a revolution!
Our campaign addresses this problem on several levels by producing washable, re-usable pads for girls, educating the population on the issue, and removing the taboo around women's menstrual cycles.
Girl Ambassadors for Peace
This troupe of university-aged young ladies are being trained and mentored to change the mind about women and girls in East Congo. They perform theater skits on radio, or in person before entire communities, raising awareness about the rights and value of women and girls, touching on typically taboo subjects as only they can, touching hearts as only they can, and making a difference as only they can.
This amazing group of young women are changing the conversation and changing the culture on issues such as sexual violence, women's right to own land, education for girls and the menstrual cycle.
Girls' School in Itombwe
Boys in rural Itombwe can go anywhere for school. But parents expect their girls to be home early for chores and work around the house. This, coupled with the danger that girls face when walking long distances to school, means that if girls don't have a school to attend close by, they will likely stop going to school at a young age.
This modern, well-equipped school building in the heart of Itombwe means that girls will have a place to study and thrive. And just as Neema's education enabled her to achieve beyond anyone's wildest dreams, we know these girls will exceed all expectations for what they can accomplish when given the chance.
We are enabling women who live in "the worst place in the world to be a woman" to travel the world without a passport or a plane ticket. Free computer training and internet access allows them to simply log on and start advocating, or blog their inspiring stories. Through technology we are amplifying the voices of those whose voices have been suppressed.
We're teaching entrepreneurial and networking skills. At both Centers we’re focused on strengthening their voices and their capacity to change their future.
Congo is home to the second largest rainforest in the world, but as with all rainforests, it has suffered massive deforestation. The women of these remote mountainous areas bear the brunt of the hardship, so are passionate about addressing Climate Change.
They are waging their war in the most primitive conditions – without basic equipment and resources – for their children’s sake; operating four nurseries and planting tens of thousands of trees each year. Live by the trees.
Ability and economy
Women with disabilities are some of Congo's most vulnerable citizens. They suffer disproportionately from sexual violence because of their inability to run away from predators. Generally considered un-marriageable, and therefore frequently single mothers, they often struggle to support themselves and their children.
We teach a group of women with disabilities to make bags, clothes, dolls, and jewelry. These products are marketed abroad. The women in the co-op not only earn a living, they learn the incredible value and opportunity that they can offer to the world.
The Maman Shujaa - or Hero Women - movement is all about empowering women to become change-makers. We provide University scholarships to a select few promising girls to help them develop their voices and their abilities to create the future they envision for Congo - as doctors, lawyers, government officers, and highly educated women with empowered voices.