People who ask our partners for help come from a place of desperation. They suffer from decades of complicated war. Congo has little functioning economy. Clean water is scarce, and basic resources are hard to find. Life is uncertain under the best of circumstances.

Single mothers are particularly vulnerable. Teenage mothers are expelled from school, and are sometimes cast from their families to live on their own. They have no support, and live in poverty at the periphery of society. There is little safety or security for them or their children, and it is hard to imagine a path to a hopeful future. It is hard to see that they have power to change anything in their lives.

Our partners offer a results-based way of turning this around. With comprehensive education, integrated support systems, and real opportunities to make a difference in their neighborhoods -- women become leaders in their communities. They become powerful catalysts for change.

People who are empowered to transform their lives hope for a better future. When women can participate in the formal economy, they are more secure and their children live better lives. Women who contribute knowledge and resources in their neighborhood become leaders and earn respect in their community.

Hope, when grounded in results, will not be stopped.

In these stories, we change people's names and do not use personal photographs to maintain privacy.

"I will help all these people who think I’m a loser, a drop-out in society because I have a child without being married. I will support the children of my brothers and sisters."

Amelie is one of eighteen children. Her father had three wives, and she was one of six by her mother. Her life changed when her mother passed away...

"If they can't read and write, how can they take notes?"

Celeste was a good student, but she had to drop out of school when she got pregnant. She found her role when she came to HOLD, though -- teaching women in the program to read and write... 

Talia was walking to school, when a group of boys grabbed her backpack and ran into a nearby house. They taunted her to go in after her bag, and when she did they raped her. Soon, she found out she was pregnant. She was not only a victim of sexual violence, but her pregnancy made her a disgrace in the eyes of her community. Then she found HOLD.