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DR CONGO: Young women inspired to be leaders in traditionally male professions

Salesian Tuwe Wafundi School of Trades holds conference for young women leaders

DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF THE CONGO

(MissionNewswire) The Salesian Tuwe Wafundi School of Trades, part of the Don Bosco Center in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), welcomed 21 girls and young women who asked to learn a profession traditionally reserved for males, such as bricklayer, carpenter, mechanic and welder. Recently, a conference was held for these students with Marie Claire, a woman entrepreneur who is responsible for a local carpentry workshop.

Irène Nabintu, an apprentice in automotive mechanics, said, “With her personal experiences, she told us that to live and be a female leader, we need to have some principles, some rules that we give ourselves.”

Claire said these rules included: avoiding always expecting help from others; working hard and showing that they can do it by themselves, alone: loving their profession; praying to God because it is he who comforts and gives confidence during the journey of work; and doing everything on schedule. She also cautioned the students to not envy what they don’t have.

Claire is a married, mother of nine children who are all well-educated thanks to her work. She told the  students to continue their education. She said, “To qualify as boys do, intelligence and strength are needed, and to work with courage. Without disrespecting men, you can make yourself accepted as a true female leader.”

The end of the conference featured a question and answer session. One young woman noted that she’d like to work but her boyfriend is against the idea. Claire noted, “If someone loves a person, he will also love everything that she is, lives and does.” The conference program for the young woman was enlightening and encouraging to help them become future leaders in their chosen fields.

Father Piero Gavioli, director of the Salesian House in Bukavu, said, “Until a few months ago, the girls of the Tuwe Wafundi school were on the street, without a diploma, without a job and without a future. The Salesian school offers them the possibility of finding a place in society and a chance to one day become true women leaders.”

Despite its vast material wealth, the DRC has long been a very poor nation. Half of the country’s population lives below the poverty line living on less than $1 a day, especially those in rural communities. More than 4.1 million Congolese are now displaced with 620,000 seeking refuge in neighboring countries. More than 7.5 million people do not have enough food to eat.

Salesian missionaries have been working in the DRC for more than 100 years ensuring that the most vulnerable children are not forgotten. Salesian primary and secondary schools and programs lay the foundation for early learning while Salesian trade, vocational and agricultural programs offer many youth the opportunity for a stable and productive future.

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Sources:

ANS Photo (usage permissions and guidelines must be requested from ANS)

ANS – Democratic Republic of Congo – Educating young people to be leaders of today and tomorrow

Don Bosco Center Bukavu Facebook

Salesian Missions – Democratic Republic of the Congo

UNICEF – DR Congo