I’m sitting here at my computer, wondering where to begin. How do you start explaining a project that is at once profoundly personal, overwhelming, and invigorating? How do I tell you this story without telling you my daughter’s, because that story is hers to tell or hers to keep. Not mine to share. What I can tell you? The two are intricately tied together, and in uncovering hers, it led to this:
A project born from her story, with the power to change many stories. An opportunity to help women trapped in the vicious, perpetuating cycle of extreme poverty. It’s a cycle that steals life, children, hope, and dignity. Here’s the thing with that kind of poverty. Charity doesn’t touch it. It might meet some immediate needs for a time, it might temporarily relieve hunger pains, but it doesn’t break the cycle. Charity is dependent on the giver. It doesn’t empower the recipient. And it doesn’t restore dignity.
Education, on the other hand? Developing potential. Providing opportunities and targeted resources. Empowering women to envision and dream and plan for and work toward a better future for themselves and their children? This has the power to break chains, to change narratives.
Lokumu – a Lingala word that means dignity. And now a program with actual feet on the ground. This is the project I’ve been working on. The project I’ve been excited to share. I look at it, and I see my daughter. I see me. I see her birth mother. I see her first country, and her new country. I see a whole bunch of puzzle pieces coming together. And I see this great big God doing what He’s in the business of doing – using what is impossibly broken, and hard, and confusing to grow something good.
So what is it, exactly?
Lokumu is a comprehensive program based in Kinshasa, DR Congo, created for women interested in running their own business, but without the education or the means to do so. Through high-impact business training, Christ-centered mentorship, targeted financial aid with accountability, and wrap-around support for children, Lokumu is designed to turn women with little to no education into confident entrepreneurs with sustainable businesses.
There’s so much more I want to say, you guys! Like how thankful I am for the women at Reeds of Hope. How excited I am about the Lokumu model, which you can check out on the website, including a breakdown of expenses (found on our support page). Lord willing, I have big dreams for this program – like trauma counseling for the women, money saving circles, and watching as our most promising Lokumu graduates become course instructors and mentors …
But first, before we can dive into any of it, we need to purchase a business kit, which will be sent to our partner in Kinshasa. This one-time purchase will allow Celeste to begin teaching Business Essentials, a 16-session, 40-hour course through Alternativ Global Entrepreneurs. This is the entrance point into our program, the first step for these women. If you’re interested in making a donation, please visit the Lokumu page to learn more, then click on the button at the end that says “Kickstart the Project”. Our goal is $500, which covers the cost of the kit. All donations are tax-deductible. Every U.S. staff member at Reeds of Hope is a volunteer, so donations go directly to DRC to run the program and support the women. We hope to have sponsorships set up soon!
Feel free to “Like” or “Follow” the Lokumu – Reeds of Hope Facebook Page to follow along as we walk this new and exciting journey! I would cherish your support!
Behold, I am doing a new thing;
now it springs forth, do you not perceive it?
I will make a way in the wilderness
and rivers in the desert.
– Isaiah 43:19