I was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo on October 25. My very pregnant mother was fleeing the city of Bukavu because rebel forces were on their way to kill anyone they suspected of being Hutus. This turmoil was my welcome into this world. This conflict took us from Bukavu in the east to Brazzaville in the Republic of Congo. As a child, there are so many things you don't notice, and despite the chaos, my innocence allowed me to have a beautiful childhood. My mother and I left the continent in 2004 and landed in the US shortly after. Growing up in the United States, as a refugee, was not easy. So my solution was to assimilate as much as possible. First I lost my love of Congolese music and television shows, then my language, and lastly my memories. The pressure to be normal was so heavy on my head that I did not mourn the identity that was being stripped away.
At the beginning of high school, several things happened: my father escaped from Congo, I reconnected with my family back home, and I made a lot of African friends. This ignited a spark and since then the question of "how will we improve Congo" has been on my mind endlessly. I read books, watched documentaries, and had numerous conversations with friends and family member on this topic. Most of the time I was left with one answer from those in the diaspora "I want to help my country [DRC], but I don't know how."
This statement prompted me to start a platform where Congolese people, specifically, Congolese girls can discuss pressing issues, network, share stories, as well as find solutions to key problems plaguing our country. It's in my opinion that community creates opportunity and I would like to see more Congolese girls succeed and collaborate. I was not a world-renowned public health specialist or a government official. All I had was an idea, a couple of friends, and a passion to see something - no matter how small - change.
On International Women's Day, we launched Congolese Girls Coalition (CGC). This organization is dedicated to creating and supporting projects that improve our country and empower our people; As well as, using our platform to connect Congolese girls, of all ages, across the globe. We will do this through collaborations with already established organizations and by creating new initiatives that will benefit the local community. Our efforts focus on helping women and children first, but CGC is dedicated to improving Congo for everyone. Our efforts will deal with the following issues: Hunger and malnutrition, education, gender equality, sustainable waste disposal, and supporting victims of violent and domestic crimes, sex trafficking, forced labor, and child abuse. These goals are in line with the UN Sustainable and Millennium development goals. Our second aim focuses on connecting women and girls across the diaspora and at home through internet-based platforms including but not limited to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube. These online community will work to help Congolese girls and women share their stories, form friendships in their local community, and increase the visibility of Congolese people, achievements, and issue. While also, providing a blueprint and audience for those who strive to be online content creators.
We are only beginning, but we call upon the World Pulse community to give us advice, interact with us through social media, and reach out if you would like to collaborate or need help with a project in the DRC. Thank you so much for your time!