Patricia Nzolantima’s Visit — December 2016

1         Patricia Nzolantima’s Visit  

Patricia with Theo and Florence in front of our Primary School

Patricia with Theo and Florence in front of our Primary School

This month, Patricia Nzolantima, founder of “Working Ladies” gave us the honor of visiting our project in Kikimi, bearing special Christmas gifts: 6 sewing machines, 20 uniforms for the girls in tailoring training, some funds and sufficient material for them to start a micro-enterprise as soon as they will have acquired sufficient skill. Years ago, at the very beginning of our association, God placed Patricia on our path at a time when we were desperate to find a way to build a school for the 100 children we had taken under our wings in the village of Kikimi. It is thanks to Patricia and the BCDC that our very first classrooms were built. It was in 2010.

Patricia with our Primary School children

Patricia with our Primary School children

Patricia visiting our secondary school

Patricia visiting our secondary school

 

2         First Building: A Primary School and a Dispensary

That is how the first two classrooms were built, as well as an office and a dispensary. This enabled us not only to educate the children, but also to give them immediate health care when needed, and thereby put a stop to child mortality from malaria or typhoid, which sadly often goes untreated in the rural areas, too far removed from proper medical care. (For more details on our early beginnings, see the videos: https://youtu.be/yiPIQkYF-5Q and http://youtu.be/4TzSLX6dsGM).

Patricia giving Theo the plaque for the newly built Primary School (with BCDC representative on the left)

Patricia giving Theo the plaque for the newly built Primary School (with BCDC representative on the left)

3         Second Building: A Maternity and Medical Center

Patricia had the vision to build a training center for vulnerable women and teenaged girls, to give them the opportunity to learn a trade that would help them pull out of the cycle of poverty. But, while construction was underway, we were faced with an emergency: all the village women would come one after the other, begging us to allow them to deliver their babies in our little dispensary, as they didn’t have the means to go to the city’s hospital. A temporary tin shelter was set up by the villagers where babies were being delivered under precarious conditions. We were forced to postpone the project of the training center, and decided to turn the new building into a maternity, medical center, with lab and pharmacy.  The following year, God supplied for us to build a separate classroom for the tailoring training and add a second floor to the medical center this year.

Upon hearing of Patricia’s visit, all the mommies how had given birth in the maternity she had helped to build, came with their babies to show her their gratitude. 

Some of the mommies who gave birth in Kikimi came with their babies to thank Patricia.

Some of the mommies who gave birth in Kikimi came with their babies to thank Patricia.

One of the babies born in Kikimi with her grateful mommy.

One of the babies born in Kikimi with her grateful mommy.

 

4         Training Center

Patricia is the perfect sample and role model for these girls and women, because she herself got started with nothing but a simple sewing machine. As we can read in the article written by « I am DIVAS » Patricia started as a young girl by selling pastries at school. With the profit, she purchased a sewing machine and made dresses for the ladies in Kinshasa. Later, she opened a tailoring shop and went to law school. Her dream: become a lawyer so she could defend the cause of the most disadvantaged. (To learn more, you can read the full article in French: https://www.iamdivas.com/intemporelle-raffinee-coloree/patricia-nzolantima-serial-entrepreneure/). So, it’s from her heart that she encourages and motivated the young women in Kiimi to pursue their dreams, no matter the obstacles. She says, “Never underestimate the power you have to change the world. All your dreams can become true, all you need is the courage to pursue them. It’s in believing that you become invincible.”

She also says, “To tie the hands of women, it’s destroying a country… I want to see the birth of a nation, and also of a continent that will help African women to go over the top, to reach their full potential.” We couldn’t agree more.

Tailoring Training

Tailoring Training 

Patricia with the tailoring students, so happy to receive all they need to start making a living.

Patricia with the tailoring students, so happy to receive all they need to start making a living.

Beautiful uniforms and sewing machines donated by Patricia

Beautiful uniforms and sewing machines donated by Patricia

Learning how to use the machine

Learning how to use the machine

 

5         Future Promises

And as if all that wasn’t enough, Patricia promised the following:

  • To donate a sewing machine to each girl who will excel this year in tailoring training.
  • To fully sponsor each child who will be the laureate of our school each year.
  • To add some improvements to the maternity.

 Thank you so much, Patricia, for your generosity, your desire to develop your country, to offer a future to the disadvantaged children and women, and to give them a sample to follow. We admire your courage in the face of untold difficulties and hardships, and we admire your faith which propels you to true success: the success of reaching the hearts of those who struggle and of giving them hope in a better world.

 

6         Global Entrepreneurship Summit

In closing, we would like to share with you a few pictures taken during the inauguration of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit which took place this year in Silicon Valley where Patricia was invited, presided by President Barak Obama.

https://medium.com/global-entrepreneurship-summit/now-is-the-time-to-invest-in-africa-6dc203892090#.pul0ojq6y

 

Patricia with John Kerry at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in Silicon Valley

Patricia giving a speech at the opening ceremony of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit earlier this year

Patricia giving a speech at the opening ceremony of the Global Entrepreneurship Summit earlier this year

 

7         Merry Christmas

We will close by wishing you a wonderful Christmas season, and inviting you to join us in prayer, along with this little boy from Kikimi who dressed up as a shepherd boy for the Nativity Play. May the God of peace, who sent His Son into this weary world, grant His Love and His Peace especially upon Congo this month, and upon each child, man and woman who live in turmoil on this earth.

Kikimi child dressed up as a shepherd boy

Kikimi child dressed up as a shepherd boy

 

 

Let’s make it a goal —and not only at Christmas— to step back a bit and reassess our life and values and discern what has been the driving force in all our actions. Let us savor every moment while we have it, and make the most of every opportunity to help another human being, because in the end, that’s all that’s going to matter anyway.

Natalie Anne Volpe (1991–2011)

 

 

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