Author Archives: Dawn McMullan

Let’s send sewing kits to our December graduates

This is Esther, the youngest student of this sewing school class. She is 14.

Our December graduates received sewing machines on graduation day — because we buy them locally in DRC — but they did not receive their graduation sewing kits. The bags are made by the Sisters Of Sewing group at Keller UMC in Texas and we purchase the sewing tools to put in the kits in the United States, as they are higher quality here.

Mama Gorethy, our founder, is in the United States now and headed back to Congo later this month. She will take the sewing kits back to our graduates to help them as they start their own businesses.

Are you able to fund a $25 kit for one of our 40 graduates? Donate here.

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

It’s graduation time again!

Today begins the countdown to our favorite non-profit holiday. After Black Friday comes Small Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, then Giving Tuesday!

This year, we are raising funds for the December graduation of 40 young women who have been waiting longer than usual for this day! Our school closed down for a few months during the early pandemic, but it’s finally time for them to graduate.

We buy 20 sewing machines for each class, allowing pairs of students to share one machine as they open their business.

Our goal on this #GivingTuesday is to raise $3000 to purchase these machines, which cost $150 each in Eastern Congo. As you plan your #GivingTuesday donations, please keep us in mind. You can find donation information here.

Virtual Global Village Market and Trunk Sale This Weekend!

Congo Restoration has been part of the Global Village Market at Greenland Hills UMC for each of its 13 years. Year 14, of course, is going to look a tad different.

There are two ways you can participate:

  1. Donate: Donate here this weekend as part of the Virtual Global Village Market. Your donation can fund: $25 can fund the education of one girl in our all girls primary school for one month. $300 can fund that girl for a year. $150 will fund a sewing machine for one of our sewing school graduates. $1000 will pay for breakfast and lunch for all our 800 girls for one month.
  2. Shop: Come to our Trunk Sale on Saturday, Nov. 7, from 1-4 pm at the church in the M Streets. COVID protocols will be in place at the outside event to keep everyone safe. In addition to our usual aprons and napkins, we are also selling face masks, pillow cases, and bags.

We hope to see you this weekend!

Let’s bring water to our girls

The women who work for the Congo Restoration Girls School of Compassion walk two miles — each way — to gather water for our girls. This year has been hard enough on all of us. Let’s bring water to the school to help the girls wash their hands more easily during the pandemic and ease the burden on these women.

Laura Ryan, founder of Syracuse-based Just Add Water, created a soap just for this fundraiser. Because water and soap should go together, right? The first 36 people who donate $50 or more get a limited edition Sabuni Spice (“sabuni” means “soap” in Swahili). This Congo- and autumn-inspired soap will remind you of the difference you have made to these students.

Let’s get the water and soap flowing! Donate via Chair of the Board Dawn McMullan’s Facebook fundraiser here.

COVID masks … here and in DRC

We want to share two updates related to the coronavirus:

angela masks

1. We have a friend to Congo Restoration in Dallas making masks with fabric from Congo. The masks are $15 and $5 for each goes to Congo Restoration. If you’re interested in buying one, email our chair of the board, Dawn McMullan, at dmcmullan@sbcglobal.net.

2. The students at our sewing school are making masks and giving them to people in their village. Here is a glimpse of what villagers were wearing in the early day of the pandemic before our talented students were able to gear up for production.

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Thanks to everyone for their support of Congo Restoration during this time. It is a struggle for all of us individually and for our budgets. Your support means everything to us right now. If you’d like to donate, through PayPal, Venmo, or UMCOR, click here.

40 women to graduate in June

The chair of our board, Dawn McMullan, is traveling to the DRC for our upcoming graduation in early June. We have 40 graduates whose lives will be changed by your investment in them and their work at our school for the past eight months. Help us honor them by funding their graduation gifts: A sewing machine (shared by two graduates who will start a business together) and a sewing kit (of sewing necessities from the US). Dawn leaves on June 2 so we need all donations by Friday, May 24. Donation links here.

2018 Congo Sew School Ad

Thank you! Stay tuned for joyous graduation photos from the Congo!

Our October 2018 graduation!

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When this class of 40 women graduates on October 27, we will have graduated 409 women in Eastern Congo!!! I wish you could go with me to visit them at their local businesses. They are so proud. You did that!

We are busy shopping in Dallas for sewing kit supplies — with the gorgeous sewing kit bags the Sisters of Sewing (SOS) of Keller United Methodist Church made for us (see below). We buy the sewing machines in Bukavu, so are raising money to make that order there.

For $25, you can sponsor a sewing kit (we need 40, one for each graduate). For $150, you can sponsor a sewing machine (we need 20; we give two graduates one machine to share as they start their own business).

You always come through for these women. Thank you for that.

DONATE HERE.

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The contents of each sewing kit.

 

sewing kits

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Thanks to the Sisters Of Sewing (SOS) at Keller UMC for making these gorgeous bags for our sewing kits!

 

10-Year Anniversary Celebration! Come celebrate 10 years of our work together! Let’s celebrate the African way — with traditional food, drums, family and friends. In 2008, our founder, Gorethy Nabushosi had a calling and a dream. You have made that dream come true — for her and for so many women and children in Eastern Congo.

Gorethy is in Dallas from the DRC to share with our supporters all that has happened in our 10 years, as well as her vision for the next 10 years. Join Gorethy and our board of directors as we bring a little bit of the Congo to you to honor all you have done for Congo.

Need a ticket? Click here.

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Planning for our April 2017 graduation!

We are excited that the chair of our board is traveling to Bukavu next month to attend the our next sewing school graduation!! Dawn McMullan last traveled to DRC in 2015. Here’s a video from that graduation day — our graduates waiving their graduation certificates in joy.

We are now fundraising for our upcoming graduation to provide a sewing kit and sewing machine to each of our 40 graduates. Would you like to sponsor a sewing machine ($150), sewing kit ($25) … or both ($175)? Make a donation between now and Dawn’s trip on April 1 to be a part of this amazing, life-changing school. Donate here, through PayPal or UMCOR.

Thank you for all you do for the women of Eastern Congo!