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Apr 8, 2019

Getting to Giggle, Little by Little!

We have a giggler in our midst, and it’s contagious! 

Seen on the left side of this photo wearing a white headscarf, our Giggler Mom has captured the amusement of her classmates and her teacher (far right). After one year, our literacy, numeracy, and human rights training for the mothers of our schoolchildren has been so successful that more women have clamored to participate. Little by little, we are accommodating them, much to their delight: We’re now offering 1 beginner’s class for 25 women every quarter, bringing our current total of participants to 140! With our first participants apprehensive but eager, subsequent groups - knowing better what to expect - have become more relaxed yet remain determined to succeed. We see this expression in the giddiness of our Giggler Mom - joined by the teacher.

Exciting news on the GlobalGiving front: The Little by Little campaign is now officially underway! It’s focused on getting small-scale donations of up to $50 from both loyal and first-time supporters of our project. For as long as funds last, GlobalGiving will match these donations by 60%, thanks to our project's "Superstar" status. This means your $15 donation becomes $24; $20 becomes $32; $25 becomes $40; and your $50 donation becomes $80! We hope to receive multiple donations before the campaign ends and the end of the EDT day on Friday, April 13, but we can only succeed with your support. Feel free to share our link with others, both within your household and beyond! https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/educate-vulnerable-children-in-dr-congo/

There’s more! If you sign up for a recurring monthly donation ($10 and up), GlobalGiving will match your first month by 50% as long as you stay with us for at least 3 months! 

Finally, as a special incentive, you will be among the first to know the story behind our primary Giggler Mom if you make a donation as part of the Little by Little campaign.

Help us bring more pride, more skills, and more giggles to the women whose lives you’re touching!

Giggling while learning!
Giggling while learning!
Feb 21, 2019

Maombi, Secondary School, and a Falling Star in Rwenena

Maombi in Luberizi
Maombi in Luberizi

Maombi is among this academic year’s 11 secondary students in our program. We first reported on her back in 2017, when she was enrolled at Rwenena Primary School. Orphaned after their parents were killed in a massacre in the village of Mutarule, Maombi and her 2 younger sisters have experienced much anguish and hardship. Since our earlier report, their grandmother died and they went to live with their uncle Mashebula and his family, also in Rwenena, which has allowed Maombi to continue her studies through our program.

Fall 2018 marked our second year of supporting students who completed primary education at Rwenena. The previous year, we learned that Rwenena’s efforts at offering secondary education solely for our students were ineffective. For the current school year, our secondary school students attend the highly esteemed Vijana Institute, located in the larger village of Luberizi, 14 kilometers (8.5 miles) from Rwenena. Daily walks to and from this school are not feasible. In exchange for school fees and materials for their children, Rwenena parents and other responsible adult caretakers agreed to procure safe, trusted lodging alternatives for our students in Luberizi. So far, all appear to be adjusting well. Our team has found the Vijana headmaster well qualified, kind, and understanding of the life circumstances of our students. We await outcomes of their academic progress.

Maombi has a second uncle in Luberizi. She currently lives with him, his wife, and their young son.  Thanks to Maombi's responsible care of her cousin after school, the boy no longer spends that time with his parents in the fields.

As for Maombi's Rwenena uncle, Mashebula expresses profound thanks to you, the donors, who make it possible for students like Maombi to continue their studies. He refers to the program as “a big star that has fallen here in Rwenena, and my daughter [niece] Maombi profits from it. She studies by the grace of God. For my part, I will tell her to continue her studies—as she would like—to become a doctor to serve our area. We have very few doctors and are badly in need of more.”

In his call for new local doctors, Mashebula suggests that Maombi and any other qualified girl or boy have the potential to fill this need. Therefore, girls as well as boys need education for the common good. There is no place for gender discrimination—only for gender inclusion. How appropriate that this year’s International Women's Day 2019 campaign theme, #BalanceforBetter, supports the global need for a gender-balanced world! 

In affirming the value of education for girls (as well as boys), Mashebula demonstrates that our work and our messages are increasingly impactful. He and others are becoming well positioned as advocates for positive, internal community change. 

We are grateful for donors like you who make our impact possible. Please continue your generous support so that Maombi and others like her can continue to be motivated to succeed in school and in life.

Maombi (center) with 4 of her fellow students
Maombi (center) with 4 of her fellow students
Maombi provides care for her young cousin
Maombi provides care for her young cousin
Maombi's uncle Mashebula, in Rwenena
Maombi's uncle Mashebula, in Rwenena
Nov 26, 2018

College-Bound Claudine!

Claudine, September 2018
Claudine, September 2018

We've done it: Claudine has become our program's first college-bound student! Her passion for education has never wavered despite the odds against her. She joined the first class of supported students in Rwenena in 2011 and excelled on an upward trajectory from Day 1. School was her safe place. In 2014, she wrote:

"I was born into a poor family without a father and of a mother driven away from the village. Being that I am an offspring of violence, I am without a person of goodwill who can support my studies in my family."

With no caring adult to look after her in a volatile environment but with continued high achievement, in 2013, we arranged to send Claudine to a good school in the town of Uvira, housed with a reputable family. She completed high school last spring with superior scores and college at her doorstep but without the means to attend.

Now, we have found funds for Claudine to attend her first year of college in neighboring Burundi. She is excited to begin her studies in January 2019. As potential donors, you can help Claudine continue her education, along with more than 90 other children and youth we serve. Her ambition is to become a nurse practitioner serving rural communities like Rwenena. What she wrote in 2015 still holds true today: 

"I say thank you to all the people of goodwill that support vulnerable children like me for the advancement of their education in DRC. Thanks to the education you have provided to me, I will be one of the great helpful women of society and I will never forget to support the children in the same category as myself."

Bravo, Claudine. May you inspire many more to follow in your footsteps.

Claudine's heartfelt reunion with SAFECO's Neema N
Claudine's heartfelt reunion with SAFECO's Neema N
Claudine shares a laugh in 2013.
Claudine shares a laugh in 2013.
 
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