Kinshasa, DR Congo: Empowering Teenage Mothers

Having Little and knowing how to Give

The XIX General Chapter Document of our Society urges us to bring life in abundance wherever we are sent to. In fact, this is the concept of Paradise. Paradise is the place where one does not live alone, but with others, a place of joy and happiness. I believe our happiness lies in this Center named, ‘Ce.Fo.B.A’: “Centre de Formation Bakanja-Annuarite”, ‘Bakanja-Annuarite Training Center’.

This is the center where we train teenage mothers in sewing. Most of these mothers, if not all, are illiterate and poor. They are considered as pieces of the wood in the fire, anxious to get out of this fire of misery, to become useful in life.  However, they do not need an angel to come from heaven to defend them as the angel defended Joshua, (Zechariah 3:1). We need charitable people, the people of good heart to help these teenage mothers, who are suffering from misery. They are aware of their state of life and they put a lot of effort into learning. In their poverty, they want to learn so that they live happily, so that they may have life in abundance.

We conceived the idea of starting this center last year when we discovered that in our parish; St. Francis of Paola, there were girls out of school and the majority of them only managed to finish class three or four. After some house-visitations, we discovered that 95% of young people who give birth from the age of 13, some either do not have the courage to go back to school or are abandoned by parents for giving birth at a young age. Therefore, this impelled us to start a training center in sewing which would bring life in abundance to these people. At first, we wanted only to have one small classroom which could accommodate 10 to 15 teenage mothers for six months. However, we discovered that this was not enough; they needed more courses.  

This is the reason we introduced a three years’ program, where in their first year, they are taught theoretical and practical courses in sewing, French and some human science courses. A program we thought we could train only 10 to 20 teenage mothers, there are almost 40 people who have registered so far and more are coming. This gives us the hope to see that the need is real.

However, we face the problem of space. Hopefully, by next year we may be able to construct four big classrooms which can accommodate three different sets of these mothers and one in which we can put sewing machines for their practices. We are grateful to all people who are directly or indirectly supporting us in bringing life in abundance to these young people. Any person who would like to support this centre can pass through the Mill Hill Missionaries, especially for the construction of these four classrooms. 

Patrick Lonkoy Bolengu, MHM. 

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