Everyone helped move to HOLD's newly rented Center -- beneficiaries and staff.

Everyone helped move to HOLD's newly rented Center -- beneficiaries and staff.

Small Changes Bring BIG Ripples

“IMPACT” is a key phrase. Of course we want to know what the impact of our investment is. But how to count it?  And over what period of time?

  • One woman, who has three children, two parents, six friends…twelve people influenced daily
  • One woman peer educator speaks to 90 people a month, 20 peer educators per month…1800 people a month hear new information, get a chance to ask questions and learn more…
  • 57 women are trained as peer educators but they rotate, taking turns, each month giving 20 the opportunity to teach*.  Each month there are different themes chosen, and special training for the peer educators each time. Each one teach one!  Actually, each peer educator makes a commitment to how many people she will reach. Most have committed to 90 people each month.
  • 721 women have gone through the training program at HOLD DRC in the past 3 years.  It’s an accredited program that results in a state-issued diploma for the women who successfully pass the exams. 
  • 120** women took the exams in December, each one demonstrating her skills to a juried board consisting of 2 people from the Ministry of Social Services, 1 from the Mayor’s office of Goma, and 1 from a local organization doing training for women. The representative from the local organization was blown away.  “I can’t believe what you are doing here!” she said.  This is good. HOLD’s reputation in Goma among Congolese means that they ARE doing it better. That is why -- That Congolese are proud of HOLD’s work builds hope in the future for Congolese.

I’m so glad I can refer people to your website, where they can find out more about our work”, said Modestine to me by phone this morning.  “It really helps our credibility here.  In fact a number of people are calling me to come and visit in January…CAFOD, UNICEF…”  When she talks with people she refers them to the ACT for Congo website.

THANK You for helping make it possible to do this work! You are the unsung heroes.  We need your continued help in the new year, your prayer, your referrals, and of course,  your financial contributions which are tax deductible.  It’s making a huge difference to hundreds of young women and their children!

*because of budget constraints

**102 were registered at the beginning of the sixth cohort, but some women who’ve failed the exams from previous cohorts keep trying, so come back for more learning and testing. We’ll let you know next month how many passed!

It’s the end of one year, the beginning of another. We wish you the very best in the year ahead, as we wish it to the graduates who’ll get their certificates in Goma on January 15th!  On the 5th of January the counselors come back to work and will start sifting through the candidates for the Seventh Cohort.

With thanks, and photos:

HOLD's tailoring students must acquire impeccable fitting skills. In Congo, traditional garments are closely fitted and made from non-stretch, woven material that does not tolerate fitting errors. As such, there is not a ready-to-wear industry for this clothing -- it must be tailored to fit the individual by someone skilled in seaming and darting techniques. Above left, students model straight skirts they made in a fitting assignment. Above right, another student models her beautifully fitted shirt and matching peplum skirt. 

Modestine Etoy leads a workshop for HOLD's Human Development Association on the importance of and challenges faced by women in leadership.

November highlights 5.jpg

Culinary students work on techniques for preparing Congolese style grilled meats. HOLD's culinary students graduate with skills needed to work in a large restaurant in Goma's hospitality industry and training to run a food service business. All of the women at HOLD receive accredited vocational degrees that are competitive and recognized by their industries (Culinary Arts, Tailoring, and Cosmetology.)

Pastry is a popular part of the Culinary Arts course. Decorating cakes for special occasions is a good source of income for those with the skill to do it well.

HOLD's Children's Club, Environmental Club, and Cultural Club teamed up and observed the International Day of Recycling. The children repurposed cans into flower pots, useful containers, and toys. The Cultural Club performed a play with a well-known local actor using props crafted with materials from the trash.

One man's trash is another man's treasure...

Henry Kabeya, a psychologist for the United Nations, teaches HOLD's staff, peer educators, and beneficiaries about strategies to combat all forms of sexual violence.

Taking notes from Kabeya's lecture.

Preparing the new Center for a brighter future.