What is in a day at HOLD-DRC?
Single mothers receive integrated training that includes vocational certification with continued community mentoring and support. They learn about preventing disease, their rights under the Congolese constitution, conflict transformation, environmental stewardship, business management, and personal finance. HOLD's graduates are leaders that are valued in their communities.
Changing policy to keep pregnant teens in school:
In DR Congo, pregnant girls are expelled from school.
As part of a targeted approach, HOLD's peer educators visit schools and share their experience, and the consequences, of being forced to leave school when they became pregnant.
HOLD held a presentation where they invited all of the principals of the area's schools to a presentation, and many were moved to tears. Twelve principals decided to work together with HOLD and the state Education system to change the policy.
Amani means "peace." HOLD works in communities to create sustainable changes necessary to create lasting peace
HOLD's first program set out to help young, single mothers -- mostly abandoned teenagers living in desperate circumstances. The women were so transformed that they wanted to share their success -- they wanted to tell the rest of Congo that positive change is possible!
Maisha Soul helped them create the video, but the women wrote the song to tell their story.
A look behind the scenes -- making Tushinde Pamoja.
"I don't have trouble buying soap anymore."
What is so special about soap? If a woman in Congo says that she can buy soap, she means her basic needs are met. Her children are fed and she has a roof over her head. She is then able to buy soap.
Why reach out to young mothers?
Modestine Etoy, Program Manager for HOLD-DRC, explains that it is crucial to empower young women, especially those with children, to realize lasting development
Changing the culture of silence around sexual violence.
Usinicheke -- Speaking out is powerful. The song was written and performed by beneficiaries at HOLD.
The environment -- to a better future.
HOLD partners with APN, Amis Protecteur de la Nature, which is a grassroots group that works inside Virunga National Park. Together, they created an after school program about environmental stewardship for children of all ages. Community-driven environmental stewardship is new to many people in Congo.
HOLD's Environmental Club also meets during school breaks. Think summer camp. Activities, field trips (when the budget permits), re-purposed materials into art, composing poetry and dramas to help them teach others how to protect nature, and why it matters. The children and counselors are singing songs about the environment during a summer school session.
Women at HOLD were repurposing plastic bags from the trash to make beautiful accessories that people can wear. These fashionable totes aren't being shuttled off to get sold in the developed world. People in Goma buy and wear them! N.B. 2018 update: plastic bags are on the way out. Now they’re making fabric bags from scraps!