About Us

Saidiana is a 501(c)3 organization with a mission to elevate the long-term well-being of the women of Congo. Learn more about our mission and how Saidiana was conceptualized below.

We Elevate and Support Women

We provide grants to support small groups of women in Lubumbashi and the surrounding area who will use the money to put their talents and business acumen into action. The funding is intended to enable them to start new businesses or enhance existing ones and lead to sustainable livelihoods. We deliberately serve impoverished individuals with drive and dreams who are not served by other lending or grant-making organizations. ​Empower Congolese women to create a better future for themselves and their families by providing resources to support their business ventures.

600 Women Involved

Provided with training programs and micro-grants to help their business thrive.

75 Startups Funded

To help improve the long-term economic well-being of Congolese women.

3,000 Families Impacted

Provided with the resources to break through the cycle of poverty in the Congo.

Our Founder

Growing up in a remote part of the Democratic Republic of Congo without access to roads or many services, Chingwell Mutombu noticed how self-sufficient and enterprising people were. Women were up early each morning to work in the garden and then walked to the market to trade. Markets were a central hub, and people used bartering and other creative ways to support their families.

When Chingwell was 17, she moved to Iowa. Her godmother had left her a trust to pay for her studies at Luther College. Chingwell started out as pre-med – being a doctor seemed like the most direct way to achieve her lifelong passion of helping women and children. However, during a conversation with a friend, she realized she didn’t have to be a doctor to help people. She changed her focus and graduated in 2000 with a triple major in political science, French and international studies. After college, Chingwell moved to New Jersey, where she graduated from Seton Hall University with a master’s degree in public administration and international relations. During a class visit to the United Nations, she had another epiphany. Rather than working in a large organization, she wanted to help people directly.

During her next job as a program evaluator at the United Neighborhood Houses of New York, Chingwell began to conceptualize what would later become Saidiana. It started with an experiment. She sent small sums of money to her mother each month to give to women to strengthen their existing businesses. Incrementally, she built a micro-finance portfolio of $3,000. The small loans allowed 60 women to break the cycle of poverty and pay for their children to go to school.

Chingwell Mutombu remains actively involved with Saidiana as our Founder.