Dear friends, colleagues and supporters,

It is with great joy and much excitement that I share the firsthand experience of my visit to the Women Rising parcel in the Congo. A month and half ago, I had the privilege to visit my family in the DR Congo and to visit the farmland and meet with some of the women who are part of our small cohort for the mini-pilot project. As many of you might recall (and thanks in large part to your support) we started farming the land this past Spring. The mini-pilot was part of our research effort to gather data and information needed to help us understand how to guide the next phase of our work on the full hectare farmland. We are learning quite a bit as the mini-pilot continues to unfold and will share some of the lessons (expected and unexpected) at a later time. However, for this post, I will focus on what it was like on the ground – meeting some of the women and seeing our farmland for the first time.

There is absolutely nothing that beats the physical experience of being in a place, meeting its people and being present for a few moments in their lives. I clearly remember that day as if it was yesterday. My oldest sister Kasuu (our project co-lead on the ground), my nephews, a cousin, and I traveled 30 km by car from Lubumbashi (the capital city of Katanga province) to Kipopo, the village nearest the Women Rising parcel (photo below).

We parked the car in Kipopo and walked for about 30 minutes to reach the parcel. Once there, I was amazed to see how much food the women had grown. All I saw (pictured below) was a sea of greens and row after row of vegetables. The sight of the new growth rising from the earth filled my heart with so much joy. For the first time, I realized that the dream of Women Rising was coming to reality. Not did I see the women growing food for themselves and their families, I recognized that the act of working with the earth and being involved with this project had ignited their own dreams. They were already beginning to dream of what is possible.

When I spoke with members of the cohort, maman Mado and maman Bernadette (pictured below), they shared those dreams with me. They can envision the hectare in full production, and raising food to not only feed themselves and families and share with their villages, but having enough to sell. They are dreaming of helping each other create these small businesses, and of establishing saving-groups in their villages with the money they make, allowing them to improve more lives together. The women have indeed been ignited and they are dreaming big!

I am grateful to be part of this important work. I know that when we fund women’s dreams, we are supporting their entire families; and when women rise, entire communities thrive. The women of Women Rising are rising and they want us to know that they are, indeed, rising. Thank you for helping us bring this first blossom of our work to fruition. We have lots more to do and we look forward to your continued support.

With deep gratitude,

p.s. Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions. I’d love to hear from you. Also, we accept donations online. Help us support the women of Kipopo and the surrounding villages as they continue to grow food and transform their destiny. Thank you for your support!

Pictured below is our vision for the future.