As volunteers for an international outreach committee of our church since 2011, we have come to know some key leaders, staff, and volunteers of Congo Initiative, both in the U.S. and in Beni, Congo, including the extended Kasali family, Cullen Rodgers-Gates, Kyle and Emily Hamilton, and members of the current Board of Directors. This is a truly amazing and transformative initiative in a troubled nation by people who truly love their neighbors. In the past few years, the Bilingual University of Congo has made amazing physical progress, adding solar energy, completing its community center (with four new classrooms for training over 300 more students), adding faculty for research, theology, and psychological counseling, and developing a new law degree program. Most importantly, Its graduates have become leaders and advocates for human rights, improved agriculture, communications, and community development, to name a few of their accomplishments. Check out www.congoinitiative.org's new website, then join us in supporting a truly transformative, proven outreach by outstanding Congolese citizens!
My heart still resides in Beni with the students & faculty of UCBC, with the ladies of The Women's Center, and with the students of The Language Institute! This place is the home that God gave to me & will forever be my Promised Land! Please help this worthy cause that is changing the world for the better!
Having lived in Beni, DRC back in the 80's and having prayed for the people there for many years, we are delighted that this university is a light shining bright in what can be a great darkness. Isn't that what God has called us to do? Bring light into the darkness and expose those things in our lives that need to be changed, that we might be transformed! This is exactly what UCBC (Congo Initiative) is doing. There is so much work to be done, to some it may appear impossible, but nothing is impossible with God! We are grateful to Him that we can join Him in supporting an organization that is so positive.
We love the mission and values of CI. We admire the organization's focus on bringing Christ's transformational life and love to the people of the Congo through higher education. It is a very much needed work and it is a joy to be able to partner with CI in their work through giving.
Congo Initiative has an inspiring vision for transformation of the nation of DR Congo through Christ-based transformation of its future leaders. By establishing UCBC -- a new university in Beni, in the Eastern part of DRC -- and developing other community-based programs in the city (programs for women and children, social justice, primary education, spiritual renewal, agricultural support, radio broadcasting, environmental care, etc.), Congo Initiative is doing hard and important work, and I am proud to support the ministry through time and giving. I have been inspired by the vision of the founder, Dr. David Kasali, and the committed work of the people that work for the ministry. I have also had a chance to visit the campus in person to see the fruits of the ministry's effort first-hand, and that was truly amazing.
I've been supporting Congo Initiative through their Kipepeo project since 2008. The reason I started was because I wanted to give something back after having been given, debt-free, an excellent education at Wheaton College. Knowing how much Wheaton impacted my life I was inspired by the idea of giving the same opportunity to students in Congo, even though I've never visited that country.
I've faithfully supported Congo Initiative from a distance (I live in Guatemala, Central America). However, what helped me to understand the project deeper was to read Dr David Kasali's biography. I received it in the mail and set it aside One day I just started leafing through, and I couldn't put it down! I read the whole thing and even cried through parts of it because of how real and beautiful God's working has been in the lives of the Kasalis. Thanks to Congo Initiative for being such an innovative, excellent and faith-filled group of people.
I support Congo Initiative as a Kipepeo partner, giving a small amount monthly to help students with their tuition. Having gone to a Christian Liberal Arts college in the US, I know how formative the college years are, and how important it is to have professors who integrate Christian character with good scholarship and social concern. As an American, I have been overwhelmingly blessed with educational opportunities, and one of the small ways I can "give back" is by helping those who, because they live in another country, have not been given the advantages I have. I want these Congolese young people to grow to a holistic understanding of God's goodness and grace for them and for their whole country. This is why I give to the Congo Initiative.
Republic of Congo... what a place!
I have taught in U.S. colleges, in Uganda, and in Congo.
The difference was huge.
My students at the University were gems to teach. They were so hungry for truth and for education that would help them to succeed for themselves, for their God, and for their country.
I would gladly teach them anywhere and anytime.
Sometimes I felt helpless in Congo. I was not helpless for myself... it was for the whole situation.
Dr. Kasali and others were there for me 24 hours a day and I never felt in danger or in any way unsupported. Looking back on it I have realized that everyone was sacrificing more than I did just to have me come over and teach.
I taught Christian Formation....a course about growing in Christ and working toward more holiness throughout one's life. The windows were behind my students,,, so as I taught them I saw other students making concrete blocks across the campus and nearby women and children gong to the spring to draw water. The pregnant woman with two small children helping her to carry water was the most poignant example of the depth of the tragedy that is Congo. I will never drink water, read scripture for the water of life, or shelter from the rain without remembering UCBC.
(It was like watching two worlds at once. The women and their little children drew water into large plastic containers because they were thirsty, and the students were just as thirsty for the water of life... while other students were making building materials that would keep rain off their heads.)
Beni is such a heartbreaking city with a light of great hope in it. I was blessed to be part of the teaching. I would recommend it to any Christian teacher who wants to volunteer somewhere in the world where it will make a profound difference on you to go there.
I recommend Dr. David Kasali, his staff, and the students to you. Teaching at UCBC or supporting the effort is prayer and money well spent.
My health will not allow me to go back. Will someone volunteer in my place?
Dr. W Michael McCrocklin
Congo is one of those places that both captures our imaginations and breaks our hearts. It feels like a place where the Light sometimes stands little chance against the dark. So rich in natural resources but so damaged for so long by colonialism and warring factions, Congo’s needs sometimes seem overwhelming.
Then along comes Congo Initiative—offering real hope in the shape of a new generation of leaders and offering people like us an opportunity to make a small but meaningful difference. Founder and Director David Kilgali was once a guest in our home, and he impressed us with his vision and integrity. In addition, a friend of ours believes so much in the work of Congo Initiative that she has given up her career here and moved from the U.S. to Congo to invest her life there. We get regular updates from her about the good, if challenging, work of Congo Initiative. Even without these personal connections, giving to Congo Initiative would have been an easy decision for us because we believe that one of the best ways to achieve lasting change in Congo is through accomplishing CI's mission of raising up new leaders.
We give because we see the huge potential for future transformation of the Congo through students who go to UCBC. My husband Josh has been to UCBC four times, from 2008 and 2009, and I joined Josh for one of the trips as well. He was fortunate to spend a number of months there and really get to know some of the students while helping promote agriculture and sustainable land use at UCBC. He worked with the students during their work programs: cutting grass with machetes, breaking the sod with hoes, and planting crops. The work program at UCBC is so important because educated people in the Congo are normally seen as people who direct others, and are not always willing to get their hands dirty. By stressing hard work as well as academics, UCBC is training a new class of Congolese university graduates who are ready to really do some transforming work as they graduate and go into communities with the values and education they picked up at UCBC.
I was still in school when we were visited, and Josh went back to school for my PhD when we returned. At this time when we are unable to be in Beni at UCBC, we still really believe in the work there and want to support it however we can. We know the building fund is important, but supporting the students is what we really connected with. Many of the students really struggle to get the school fees necessary to attend UCBC, often having to ask relatives for support, and the student's families often have to make huge sacrifices for the opportunity for their children to attend. By setting aside money each month, we are able to support the great work UCBC is doing whileJosh is finishing school. By being a Kipepeo partner, we hope to help Congo become a better place through a student we help support.
After hearing about CI's great work in Beni several years ago, I finally had the chance to visit in June 2012. While I was only in Beni for a few days, it was important to see and hear from the administration, faculty and students how they are practically realizing their mission, specifically of raising up new Christian leaders at UCBC to lead the transformation of Congo. One of the distinctives of CI is their emphasis on developing Congolese leadership, and I saw this modeled by the godly leadership of UCBC's administration. I was glad to see how international partners are included in supporting roles, and now I hope to find a way to return and contribute! I was also blessed by the incredible hospitality I received, and the eagerness of my hosts to make me feel welcome.