LETTER FROM CHAIR OF THE BOARD MID 2020
Greetings and thank you for all your support over the years with this organization that has been fighting for Women-owned business in the Congo for 10 years! As we transitioned and grew from a micro-loan to a micro-grant organization and from FirstStep Initiative to now Saidiana, it has been a great journey. It has always been to strive for the best for the women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and their children and community.
I have been on the Board of Directors since 2015, responsible for Congo Relations before I took on the role of Chair in April of this year. I also wanted to take a moment to thank Elle for her role as chair over the last few years. She has been instrumental in moving this organization forward.
I wanted to share a bit about my history and how I got involved in Saidiana, as my passion for the Congo and her people is deep. Right out of college, I joined the PeaceCorps Public Health Administration program in the Congo (then Zaire) as a managing director of 2 hospitals and 19 health centers in the village of Mushenge in the province ofWestern Kasai. Due to circumstances beyond our control, I became the managing director without the Congolese Counterpart usually required in the Peace Corps. Shortly thereafter the Head Doctor traveled to the US for additional training for 6 months and I was left to run the place at 22 years old. This was a fantastic learning opportunity. Primarily, I was there to develop the business side of the hospital so that its revenues and future sustainability didn’t have to rely on incomes from the poor and sick. We also opened a store, corn-mill, and restaurant while in the Congo – all small businesses like the one’s Saidiana support today.
At Saidiana, we continue to support the sewing & salon school, and funding women-owned businesses. The great part about this business model is that it is completely scalable, and as we have more funds, it is very easy to grant more projects. Currently, we still only have one part-time paid employee in the US for accounting and two paid staff in the Congo. We have way more project applications than we can accept and the needs
are great in the Congo.
Since April we have been working on the following:
Added 3 new board members:
– Andrew Jensen, Treasurer
– Risha Rathmore, Social Media
– Albert Nyembwe, Congo Relations
Began the search for a Grant Writer – click here or let us know if you or anyone you know is interested!
Trip to the Congo – I was fortunate to visit the Bea, Nancy, and Kimbilio and our active projects in 2016; now Albert, who is taking over Congo Relations, and I are working on a plan to visit again this year.
Opening an office in the Congo
Launching our presence into a new undeveloped area of Kisanga, southwest of Lubumbashi, with a business training conference to introduce Saidiana to the women, letting them know our expectations and what we can do for them. Last year we completed a survey with Kimbilio to understand the needs in this area and they definitely need our help!
Thank you for all your support over the years, and please contact me directly if you have some ideas that you would like to share at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’m looking forward to continuing to develop alongside this amazing organization!
All the best,
YOUNG MUMS UPDATE
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