Training transforms lives in Congo

In a new endeavor at Kindu Methodist University, the wives of theology students are learning trades to help support their families.

The women can choose from a variety of courses, including culinary science, sewing, hygiene, literacy, religion and languages (English, French and Swahili).

The East Congo Episcopal Area organizes the faculty of theology and offers the Tunda Pastoral School within the university. Students come from three annual conferences: East Congo, Kivu Provisional, and Oriental and Equator.

Fono Lohalo, a pastor’s wife, coordinates the women’s training.

“These women learn several trades to be useful wherever they accompany their husbands after their studies in theology,” she said.

A group of women, some with babies and children, check cakes in a pot while learning cooking techniques during training provided at Kindu United Methodist University in the Democratic Republic of Congo. While their husbands are studying theology, the wives are given training to support their husbands in their pastoral ministry through improved domestic and literary skills. Photo by Judith Osongo Yanga, UMNS.

A group of women, some with babies and children, check cakes in a pot while learning cooking techniques during training provided at Kindu United Methodist University in the Democratic Republic of Congo. While their husbands are studying theology, the wives are given training to support their husbands in their pastoral ministry through improved domestic and literary skills. Photo by Judith Osongo Yanga, UMNS.

 

Bishop Gabriel Yemba Unda said he believes educating women educates the entire nation.

“Our contribution,” he said, “is to train women (in) a profession to better accompany their husbands.”

Participants express enthusiasm for the opportunity.

“I am happy (with) the training,” said Marie Claire Diandja, the bishop’s wife. “I am in the course of learning of the Swahili language.

“We are pleased with the fruit produced by the Kindu United Methodist women's center,” she continued. “We want to extend this training for all women in the East Congo Episcopal Area to help them provide for the enormous needs of their homes so that they do not give up the burden on their husbands.

“Women,” she said, “must stand up for an effective and sustainable self-care with a stable home for the glory of God.”

Three of the students work on vowels at a chalkboard during training for the wives of theology students at Kindu United Methodist University in Democratic Republic of Congo. Photo by Judith Osongo Yanga, UMNS.

Three of the students work on vowels at a chalkboard during training for the wives of theology students at Kindu United Methodist University in Democratic Republic of Congo. Photo by Judith Osongo Yanga, UMNS.

 

Loliya Lilungu accompanied her husband to Kindu.

“This training,” she said, “is really beneficial. Coming to Kindu, I had nothing as a trade or intellectual baggage. Here from home today, I can read and write, prepare soap and make (it) available to the neighboring population. I bring a plus into my home from this training, and my husband, who is a student, looks forward to my work.”

The products that come from the women’s center have been well received. “I was curious to see and buy soap (and) bread produced by our wives,” said the Rev. Ndjeka Paul, who is in charge of Christian education at the seminary.” He encourages his colleagues to support the training.

While their husbands study theology, the students’ wives receive training in domestic and language skills at Kindu United Methodist University in Democratic Republic of Congo. Photo by Judith Osongo Yanga, UMNS.

While their husbands study theology, the students’ wives receive training in domestic and language skills at Kindu United Methodist University in Democratic Republic of Congo. Photo by Judith Osongo Yanga, UMNS.

 

Andjambu Bakumu, another participant, voiced enthusiasm. “Literacy received in the center allows me to constantly monitor the duties of my children,” she said.

Today, she and her husband share the responsibility of helping their children with homework. She is especially grateful to the bishop, who initiated the project.

“Field work takes us away from the ministry of our husbands,” said Apamato Okito, wife of the Rev. Okito Boniface. “Through this training, I learned a job that allows me to be stable and next to my husband. Thank you for this training that transforms our lives.”

Two women write in notebooks during training provided for the wives of theology students at Kindu United Methodist University in Democratic Republic of Congo. Photo by Judith Osongo Yanga, UMNS.

Two women write in notebooks during training provided for the wives of theology students at Kindu United Methodist University in Democratic Republic of Congo. Photo by Judith Osongo Yanga, UMNS.

 

Osongo Yanga is the director of communications for the East Congo Episcopal Area of The United Methodist Church. News media contact: Vicki Brown at (615) 742-5470 or newsdesk@umcom.org. To read more United Methodist news, subscribe to the free Daily or Weekly Digests.

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