From Abandoned to Self-Sustaining

Post a Comment » Written on June 9th, 2014     
Filed under: Community Development
Tags: ,
Congo Goma Dave Husby 2011 (96)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 Goma, CWR is partnering with HOLD Congo.

HOLD Congo is working in the local community of Goma with unmarried and abandoned mothers. The prevalence of unmarried mothers is high in Goma because many women don’t understand their rights and their culture doesn’t protect them against rape. Girls are blamed for getting pregnant when they don’t even know how their bodies work.  Girls don’t know that they can /may say “no” and that they deserve protection.

What usually happens when a women gets pregnant without being married is that they are ostracized by the community. Many women come into the program being mistreated and/or disrespected at home by family members, within their faith communities, or in their neighborhoods: “People didn’t talk to me, but whispered about me when I walked in the neighborhood. I wasn’t able to sing in the choir at church…”

Congo Goma Dave Husby 2011 (76)HOLD has identified 83 such mothers and is working to help these women become self-supporting and contributing members to the society. HOLD helps them recognize their own strengths, develop new skills and give them confidence that they are worthy and loved.  These women are taught skills like the culinary arts, and tailoring. These skills give them money to support themselves and their families.

  • “I’ve studied culinary arts. I’ve learned so much! Now I have a cell phone so I can get work calls, I organize the work, and they pay me! My child is in the second grade and I pay his school fees. I’ve been getting a lot of work on the weekends lately.”
  • “I came to HOLD and I couldn’t even pedal the machine. I went into a workshop near my home and they thought I would wreck their machine but I persisted, and they let me try and I was able to make a whole skirt.”

Not only are these women given skills and therefore hope for a better life for themselves and their children, but through these skills HOLD gives the women confidence and respect in themselves. As some women put it:

• “I was abandoned. I didn’t know I would be able to earn money with my own hands. This money helped me pay school fees for my child; I know that someday I’ll be able to defend the rights of others like me because I have learned to defend my rights.”

• “I didn’t know how to sew; I learned here. A big change was to learn to live in society, to express myself, and talk with others without shame or fear.”

• “Before I couldn’t earn any money. No one respected me. My family is starting to respect me now.”


–Michyla Lindberg, CWR intern



Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Report This Post

Leave a Reply

Report This Blog