I will be going to the Democratic Republic of Congo in less than two months. And now I’m going to tell you why.
I volunteer for an organization called Sowers of Hope. It’s an NGO that helps to support a grassroots organization (also called Sowers of Hope) in DR Congo started by Bernard Balibuno and Emmanuel Mufla, two of the area’s own.
I got involved with the organization about five months ago, after meeting Alicia Vial in one of my French classes here in Provo. She met Bernard during her undergrad, and helped to support the beginning of what Sowers of Hope – Bukavu is today. The organization in Bukavu supports an elementary school that currently employs five teachers to teach 158 students.
It is an amazing organization. What I love about it is that we support their organization. We are not going in to “Westernize” them, but to help them in their own efforts. The other thing I love is that our goal is to help them become self-sustaining, rather than supporting them for the rest of forever. This will allow them to become economically viable, while educating children and keeping those children out of the armies, and it will allow us to then move on and help additional grassroots organizations.
Currently, we are supplying (or will be shortly) funds to support their elementary school, as well as to purchase and install a mill, which will supply the school with both food and a form of regular income. (There are a number of other projects we are working on that we will be posting to the website soon and I will also be writing on our blog.) I could go on and on about why I love Sowers and what we are doing.
So, why am I going over there? I will be training the teachers and administrators in general office and computer skills. A daunting task no matter what, but I also get to do it in French.
In addition to telling you all about my trip*, I really want to do my part to raise awareness, as well as contribute to our fund raising efforts in these early stages. And in my thoughts of how to best do this, I thought of my family, my friends, and my readers. So, here’s what I am asking (and yes, I’m totally using my blog to promote this organization); I would love it if all of you would check out the website (which is still undergoing construction) and, if you feel so inclined after reading about what we are doing, donate** something.
I would also love it if you would post about this on your blogs. You could post a link to my post, or to the website itself. I would love it so much, that provided all works out and I do make a trip to Africa, I will pick one of you (meaning you need to leave a comment or email me letting me know that you posted it on your blog…please include your blog URL in your comment/email) at random, and bring something back for you from Africa. And this is open to anyone.
In addition to volunteering my time for the organization, I will be donating $10 a month*** to the school. It may not sound like a lot, but if even 9 of you are willing to do the same, we will have supported a teacher for an entire year. That’s right. $100 a month will support one teacher. And we think our teachers are poorly paid. And none of your donations are going to support my trip over there. You can visit this page to read about the school and our funding goals.
I am extremely excited to be a part of an organization**** that I really believe in and that is making a difference. These children are incredible, and the people in the Congo who have sacrificed so much in order to ensure that these kids are getting an education just amaze me.
If you have any questions about the organization or would like to know other ways to get involved (we are looking for two laptops to take over when we go), please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also purchase this uber-cool t-shirt (all proceeds go to sowers, you have a cool t-shirt, people see our name) here.
*None of your donations will be going to support my trip (our anyone else’s) over to Congo. All donations go directly to Sowers in Bukavu, Congo.
**Donations of $100 or less are tax deductible without any documentation. We are currently working on our 501(c)3 application, and once we are approved, larger donations will be eligible. Please contact your tax advisor for any questions about charitable donations.
***Currently, donations are taken through PayPal. We will soon have the ability to set up a recurring payment, so the money is automatically withdrawn from your account each month.
****I do have a soul…who knew?
*****Sorry the pictures aren’t bigger. They are straight from Emmanuel and are relatively small files.