-We held a ceremony on the same day of the school inauguration to celebrate the 100+ women who have each planted
hundreds of trees - some of the women have planted over 2000 trees! These women are not paid, we just provide the seedlings and the training, and then they each own their plot of trees, which will be a future source of income for them. We gave each woman a colorful piece of Kitenge fabric, as a small motivation and thank you for their hard work in helping to restore the natural forest of Itombwe. They were SO excited to receive it (in the extremely remote village where they live, a new piece of fabric, a new dress, is a luxury they don't often come by). I've attached a few pictures, a video of the women dancing, and a sound recording of a beautiful song they sang (someone get these ladies a record deal, already!)
18 Muharram 1441 AH
--Our sewing training program in Bukavu is expanding well! This is a training program for women to have a sustainable business that they can run out of their homes, to have income to not only support their families (often women are the ones responsible for family and household needs, even if their husband is present and employed) and send their children to school, but also to gain respect and a voice in family decisions. We have completed a six-month training program for women from four local organizations to learn how to make reusable sani-pad kits, to help girls stay in school. Now we are 3 months into a six-month pilot training program to teach a small group of women how to make clothes - a very in-demand skill in Bukavu. They are progressing well, and we are so happy to see their progress! Unfortunately I don't seem to have any photos of the sewing program on hand. However, we were fortunate to have a professional filmmaker along for this trip, and he took lots of footage of their work. We hope to get some material from him within the next month, and we will send some of that video along then.