Democratic Republic of the Congo – Portraits of "Mother Courage"

13 December 2019

(ANS - Bukavu) - Since July 2018, the Don Bosco Center (CDB) of Bukavu has favored the creation of 20 groups of "AVEC" (Association Villageoise d'Epargne et Crédit, the Village Savings and Credit Association) which today count over 500 members, almost all women, mostly mothers.

In the group's safe, the mothers deposit, every week, 1,000 to 5,000 Congolese Francs (CF - corresponding from 0.60 cents to € 3), plus 200 CF in the solidarity fund. Then, after a few weeks, they can apply for a credit, which is two or three times higher than their savings. Mothers who adhere to this fund can benefit from 10,000 CF help to be used in situations of necessity such as the birth of a child, an illness or a death in the family.

In the Don Bosco Center, working alongside these mothers are two social assistants, Gisèle Cibasa and Nicole Mapendo, who, by regularly attending the weekly meetings of each group, collect information on each member. The two assistants listen to each person individually, visit women's homes and discover their stories.

Gisèle and Nicole have drawn a series of portraits of these women, who very often have great ideas and projects, but they need help to start or strengthen their activities. Many of the mothers live in difficult situations and have various problems related to their children's health, food and school.

The two social assistants have thus decided to select a hundred mothers (and a few dads) to whom the Don Bosco Center could pay a small amount - non-refundable - that will allow them to start an income-generating activity. Mothers most in need and living in the most dramatic situations have been chosen.

This is the case of Nyassa Nyakisoka: her home was destroyed, her husband is seriously ill and there is no money in the family even for medicines. Or the case of Bwinja Aline: she is fatherless and after graduation she stopped studying, to help her mother and her eleven brothers.

Then there is Helene Murhula, abandoned by her husband and forced to leave her home. Her children do not go to school and she looks for a way to guarantee them a future. Didienne Mukunda is also struggling to pay her children's school fees and, like her, so many other women that the CDB wants to help, so that they can recover and have an income of their own, to give their children the hope of a better tomorrow.



ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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