What a year it’s been!

Most of us only want to look forward because, 2020. But despite the tremendous challenges and heartbreak this year brought, Congo Restoration — with your help — changed the lives of girls and women in Eastern Congo.

I would be remiss as chair of the board to not point out that midnight tonight is the deadline for 2020 tax-deductible donations. So if you’d like to help us set up for our 2021 plans, today is the day and here’s the link. If you have $21 or $201 or $2021 to give — or anything in between — I assure you we will put it to excellent use.

With your help, here’s what we celebrate about 2020:

1. Our “pandemic class,” as we call it, graduated in December, bringing to 600+ the number of young women who have graduated from the Congo Restoration Sewing School.

2. Our primary school closed from March through October, but the girls started back in October and are so happy.

3. Our two college scholars started back to school in October after a seven-month break. Thanks to a wonderful Congo Restoration donor, we’ve added another college scholar to the program. Mapenzi, pictured with Congo Restoration Founder Gorethy Nabushosi below, was raped last year as she walked to the river to get water for her family. She became pregnant and was an outcast, as is common in Eastern Congo. On her first day of college mid-December, she stopped by to tell Mama Gorethy she now had all she needed for a successful life.

4. Thanks to a grant we were awarded just before the pandemic began, we are almost done with a new building for our primary school and hope to add two new classes in September 2021.

5. Our oldest two orphans graduated from high school in November. One started college and another is awaiting a donor’s help to do the same, hopefully in 2021. (If you’d like to support her, reach out to me.)

6. We raised $3,000 to fund a water station, which will soon bring clean water to our girls and save women miles of walking to fetch water for our primary school.

7. Our sewing school students made countless masks to give away during the pandemic, providing an invaluable safety measure in the fight against COVID.

8. With safety protocols and maybe a bit of luck, we have not had a COVID outbreak at either of our schools.

9. We held a community event early in lockdown, bringing in a doctor to share information about COVID-19. Information is scarce in the villages of Eastern Congo so this event was much needed and much appreciated.

10. We provided soap and hand sanitizer to our students, their families, and our staff thanks in part to a partnership with Just Add Water Soaps, which created a special soap, Sabuni Spice, for the occasion. 

We are incredibly blessed and thankful. And we have big plans for 2021. After taking a pandemic pause in adding a new class to our all girls primary school, we plan to add both first- and second-grade classes to our school next year. We also plan to bring electricity to the primary school, Mama Gorethy currently is choosing the next class of 40 students for our sewing school, and we will continue to lift up the women and children of Eastern Congo through education. 

Here’s to 2021. As for 2020, we won’t miss you, but we will always remember the wins you gave us.

Endless thanks for helping us do what we do. And Happy New Year.

Dawn McMullan
Chair of the Board

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