From Marginalized to Leaders

Post a Comment » Written on June 25th, 2014     
Filed under: Community Development
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The Evangelical Covenant Church is very active in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and has a long history of activity there. Covenant World Relief serves on the eastern side of the country, a different region than where Paul Carlson Partnership, Covenant World Mission, and Covenant Kids Congo serve. In the Eastern part of the country CWR is partnering with HOLD Congo. An organization based in a local village called Goma that works to empower unmarried and abandoned mothers.

Congo ACT report 1.17.14 (2)As HOLD Congo works to empower single abandoned mothers in the community of Goma the effects of this work have spread to the wider community.

As the women learn technical skills and self-worth, they are also taught about ways to make their community healthier and more just. The women are taught about common diseases and ways to prevent such diseases. Just as important, these women have been taught about their rights and about family planning options. This education will make women’s lives healthier, and also improve living conditions for family members.

•             “I’ve also learned about (the) disease of malaria. I’ve started to clean up my environment because I know where it comes from. Now I take the reeds/grass away from the house. I keep water covered and clean.”

•             “No man can trick me anymore. I won’t be following a boy around asking for things. I learned about spacing children. I’ve also studied culinary arts and have learned skills to support myself…”

•             “Also I learned about family planning and no man can fool me again”.

Once these women have gone through training, they become “peer educators” and leaders in their community. As a peer educator, they work to education other women about the healthy living and family planning practices that have impacted their lives so much.

• “I have kept track of who I’ve talked with. Each of us [as peer educators] talks with 90 people every month.”

•             “Buhimba IDP Camp we went to teach…they are calling us back to come and teach others. (they went to the camp three times)”

•             “At Lac Vert Camp (IDP) we presented ourselves as single teen mothers and wanted to meet with other teen mothers. There were many there who wanted the opportunities we have had here at HOLD.”

3HOLD Congo has given these women, skills and self-respect and these women have in turn given back to their community to help others in similar situations. These women now have enough confidence in themselves to have dreams about their future:

•             “I would like to have a group of us from HOLD open up a restaurant that we could feed and provide drink for people. We could also employ people.”

• “My dream is to finish university; I want to study Management and the administration of development projects.”

• “I would like to have my own beauty salon and I want to help my children learn to fear God.”

Through HOLD, these women have been transformed from marginalized people into leaders of their communities. “To be a leader means I have to live as an example, be brave, be a person who keeps her word. Someone who sees and understands the needs of others and helps them find solutions. A leader keeps the interests of the group in mind rather than personal interests.”

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