Meet Beatrice…. She lives in the Democratic Republic of Congo and has become a friend of mine since coming here to help start a school over the past six years. She is the mother of one of the students at the school I helped to start up in the Congo and she recently took part in the HerNextSteps workshop in September 2018.
A year ago when I came to the DRC, to continue the coaching and training of the teachers at our school, Beatrice approached me and some others about the idea of developing training for “fille-meres” (young mothers), who are disadvantaged young women who have been chased from their families because of an unplanned pregnancy. Beatrice had already been in contact with the leader of 4C, a non-profit grassroots development organization here in the Congo about the idea as well.
Beatrice is an unselfish, visionary woman. She lives in a very modest 2 room structure that she and her husband fixed up last year. It has no running water and the electricity only works once in a while. She and her husband live off of what he earns as a taxi driver, less than $200 a month.
What touched me the most is that despite her very difficult personal life situation she wanted to help those who were less fortunate than her.
I was impressed when she presented to a group of us — open to helping bring about change — a worked out budget, a timeline for a plan to train these disadvantaged women; first in sewing skills and then training them to repair sewing machines. The idea was a good sustainable one. One we as a group decided to help make possible.
So here we are, a year later and a group of 12 young mothers has received two trainings, which has equipped them with new seamstress skills and the unique skill of being able to repair a sewing machine…. Beatrice’s newest idea is to open a location in which some of the trained girls could now use their newly acquired skills to train others who are in the same difficult life situation as they are in. They are planning to rent a little room for $100 a month and to open this as a training center… so the gift goes on!
Thank you, Beatrice, for your example of bravery and your heart to reach out to others — despite some of your own personal difficulties. Your example inspires us all!