Life is fraught with danger and challenges for the coffee farming women of the Democratic Republic of Congo. The UN has consistently ranked the DRC the worst place in the world to be a woman. However, through the life-changing tools of education and gender equity, coffee farming women across Congo are creating new beginnings. Women like Katungu Mauli from Chebumba, South Kivu, DRC.
Tumusifu, and 99 other women are part of an On the Ground pilot project to develop gender equity and education initiatives in 4 different Congolese coffee farming communities. Below are her thoughts on the program, the challenges she has faced and the hope she has for the future.
Herman Chirihambali Lwango, OTG DRC Programme Director– Please share a little information about yourself. What is your name? Tell us about your family? How long have you lived here?
I am Tumusifu Renzaho, 27 years old mother of 5 children, 4 boys, and one girl. I had been living here for 11years. I don’t have a legal marriage with my husband.
For what purpose are you participating in this educational program?
I want my life to be transformed, I wish I have a consideration in my community, to want to help fight against discrimination from that we are victims as women in our communities.
What do you hope to learn?
After one year on attending this program, I am sure I will learn so many things. Being for the first time of my life able to write a letter, able to read and calculate. You cannot imagine what will be my joys to write a phone number on a mobile and call myself without asking someone to support me. I want to know my rights. I want to learn how to organize my family. I want to make sure after this year, me and my family we are in good understanding, equality and equity should be our standard rules. I want to know how I can start a small income generating activity. How to be a part of a group and how to organize savings.
What are your goals and plans?
We have so many goals, I have my own and my family’s goals. I want to be empowered, to be able economically independent, to want to be a woman who can also be considered in my community. I want all my children to study, I want to live in an iron sheet house. I want to live in a nice house. I want to live in a community where there is equality, where a woman is not victim of discrimination because she is a woman, to live in a community where a woman is not considered as an object.
How do you think this program will help you achieve these goals and plans?
Since On the Ground has decided to help us be together, since this program is a real need of all the women, since this program is a real space where we can discuss as women, where we are following courses, where we are meeting with our husbands to discuss about equality and equity, where we are saving together, since this program is for illiteracy, Gals, MUSO and income generating activities; I am sure that it is helping me to achieve my goals.
What would you say to the men and women of United States who drink the coffee from Congo?
I would want to the people from USA to buy more coffee from us, our coffee is 100% bio> I want so many people from USA to come and visit us. I would like to see each American who is drinking our coffee to support this program.
Thank you for reading about Tumusifu‘s struggles and successes, her challenges, and her aspirations. You can support Tumusifu‘s life-changing education and empowerment today when you make a gift by filling out the donation form below. Please help grow education and equity for the farming families of Congo’s coffee lands today!