Celeste is highly motivated. Even before she came to HOLD-DRC, she was creating cottage industry for herself, making doilies and handiwork to sell and raise money to support her mother and her family. She was an excellent student, too, but she got expelled from high school when she became pregnant.

It is a common practice in DR Congo to kick girls out of school. In fact, many women who become pregnant as teenagers remain illiterate and have no numeracy skills.

Celeste enrolled in HOLD's tailoring program, because she wanted to make a better life for her family. When she started taking classes, she was overwhelmed by how many women struggled to read and write. She started tutoring her classmates and found that she was a gifted teacher. She advocated to HOLD and ACT for Congo for more support for literacy, and when she graduated, she became a Peer Educator. She started a literacy program and continues to teach women to read and write.

Her literacy program follows an established curriculum for reading, writing, and practical arithmetic, and it compares well to the material covered in secondary schools. Soon, ACT for Congo got a small grant for literacy so HOLD could adopt her program and make it available to any woman in the program who need this kind of help.

Today, Celeste supports her mother and her child, and she still teaches literacy at HOLD. She is also attending university and working on a degree.


HOLD-DRC and the Cultural Club are working with the DRC Provincial Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Gender & Social Affairs to change the practice of expelling pregnant girls.