Education, Human Rights, Livelihoods and Economic Justice

Maman Tshikuta, DRC

Meet Maman Thsikuta Mujinga, 45 years old, from the mining village of Tshala, located in the Democratic Republic of Congo. For years, Mrs Tshikuta, her husband and her children lived in poverty, working tirelessly in the mines. Looking back on these difficult times, she recalls:

I think that we were lesser human beings in comparison to those people who didn’t have to work in the mines. After mining for a whole day, we would only find very little cobalt, and it would be bought for a very low price, so we had to survive on very little money.

But her life changed when she crossed the path of  Bon Pasteur Kolwezi and got enrolled in one of its community development projects. As a program participant, Maman Tshikuta was trained in saving money; reading and writing, skills critical to expanding her business and unlocking new opportunities. “Learning how to read and write has cleared the darkness from my eyes”,  she states. With a sense of pride, she hurriedly grasps a book and a pen, carefully writes her name, looks at it and smiles:

“When attending a women’s group meeting, I used to get embarrassed because I couldn’t write my name down in the register. It gives me joy that I can now write my own name… instead of depending on someone”

Through the various initiatives of the Bon Pasteur Kolwezi program, Tshikuta also understood the importance of education for her children’s future. Her daughter, Mpoyo Verdu, started a tailoring course. Although she has not yet been able to launch her own business, due to the high cost of a sewing machine, Mpoyo’s expertise will enable her to become financially independent:

“She does not have to get married early… she will be able to contribute to bringing up her family… Right now, the ones who have been trained are much ahead, and I think that we are worthy, respectable human beings!” Tshikuta explains. 

Tshikuta’s story reflects the challenges faced by many other women in her village. Because of poverty, the complete lack of school infrastructure or the loss of parents or guardians, the majority of women her age are illiterate. But learning to write – even something as simple as their name – opens doors to new possibilities for their futures!

By empowering community members in the most vulnerable conditions such as women and young girls through training in literacy, agriculture, tailoring, welding, and baking, among other skills, the Bon Pasteur programs aim to help them unlock new opportunities outside the mines and build better lives. 

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Maman Tshikuta, DRC

Meet Maman Thsikuta Mujinga, 45 years old, from the mining village of Tshala, located in the Democratic Republic

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