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Bukavu, the City of Opportunities

In 2022 we finally realized our trip to our family, Douce and Placide, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which was planned for 2020. What an adventure! The country and above all the people are just impressive and inspiring. We don't want to withhold anything from you and bring you some new projects from Bukavu with lots of love! Together with you, we would like to create new jobs and future opportunities with local resources. Join us on a journey and read more about our projects and future plans.

Maman Charleen

Maman Charleen and her employees at work in Bukavu, DR Congo. Maman Charleen is standing on the right side of the picture and her employees are sitting behind tables. On the right and middle table are manual sewing machines, which run without electricity.

In 2022, two years later than originally planned, we were finally able to start our journey to Bukavu, Democratic Republic of the Congo. A journey on which we will not only visit our family, but also meet many impressive people. Douce, you will learn more about her later, loves fashion, just like me. However, not in the sense of designing and sewing, but rather in the sense of wearing. I have to tell you that fashion is a big part of Congolese culture, just google "Les Sapeurs"! You will see, fashion is really lived in DRC. But let's get back to the actual topic. Douce and I already had the idea of ​​starting a fashion business together with Maman Charleen in 2019. However, as we all know, a global pandemic intervened.

Well, 3 years later in 2022, we made it. Steven and I were finally able to meet Maman Charleen and see how she and her cutters work. We are simply amazed by the artistry and passion she brings to this profession. Seeing this joy is very inspiring, we would like to support it and spread it in Europe by selling the products. It is our common dream to create more jobs, to ensure more income security and not to forget to share this joy of unique, handmade fashion with you. Maman Charleen currently employs 10 people and brings more than 15 years of experience. As you can see in the photo, manual sewing machines are used because they do not depend on a power supply. Since power outages can occur daily, work can continue without any problems.

This picture shows workplaces of the tailors in Bukavu, DR Congo. In the middle of the picture is shown a table with a manual sewing machine. This old machine runs without electricity.

Uwezo Afrika Initiative

Douce Namwezi from Uwezo Afrika Initiative and Melanie are showing colorful shopping bags, made of left-over wax-print fabrics.

Uwezo Afrika Initiative was founded by our dearest Douce Namwezi. With this initiative Douce breaks taboos around menstrual health and accompanies young students. This association manufactures washable and reusable sanitary pads, sold at a very affordable price or even distributed free of charge to vulnerable people. In order to tell more about Douce, we could actually write a complete book about an impressive woman. She probably won't like us writing this, as she is very humble, but we are just too proud of her and her passion for her city and people. As one of the Forbes 100 most Influential Young Africans she is forced to let the spotlight shine on her. Being an activist, business women, wife of a lawyer, amazing friend and sister, she is also a mom and a ass-kicking woman!

Melanie Krausa posing in front of the entrance of Uwezo Afrika Initiative in Bukavu,DR Congo. Melanie is holding up colorful shopping bags handmade by Nathalie.

Uwezo is now much more diverse and just bursts with creativity. The best example of this is the work of Nathalie. She creates earrings, bracelets, bags and many more from leftover wax-print fabrics and sells those items. At the beginning, this idea was intended to finance her studies. In the meantime, this project has grown into a shared dream of Douce and Nathalie, to offer young women a chance to finance their studies without having to sell their bodies on the street. As a mother of two, Nathalie wishes for a secure and more independent future for Bukavu's girls. As you read, her motivation is unstoppable. Just as little as her creativity, which she lives out freely in a wide variety of products, from earrings and bracelets to shopping bags and kitchen gloves.

Nathalie from Uwezo Afrika Initiative and Melanie posing in front of the office building of Uwezo Arfika Initiative in Bukavu, DR Congo. Both women are joyfully holding-up 3 colorful shopping bags handmade by Nathalie of left-over wax-print fabrics.
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