First of all, I had to include the great picture of Suzanne and one of her piano students. He is a really cute bright boy from a very very poor family. We takes a taxi to Wed. to have is piano lesson. We always feed him before he leaves.
EDITOR NOTE: Sorry, I got a couple of really blurry pictures, and can't delete them.
As you think about the end product of our efforts with the Perpetual Education Fund (le Fonds Perpetuel d'Etude) is EMPLOYMENT. We are not in the education business, we are in the employment business.
We work closely with the Church Employment Services.
With Church Employment, we are holding a series of Employment Firesides. Over the past months we have been visiting schools. As part of the Firesides, we are inviting the heads of the schools to come to the firesides and talk about the educational value of their schools. Our PEF applicants are invited in order to learn more about their choices.
Last week we were at the Kimbaseke stake and had a large turnout. We had a representative of a journalism school, Cisco Software Academy, and a management school.
I have to tell you about the management school. We had visited it the other week. The founder and director is a man who went to the US and finished with a PHD in business management from Syracuse University. He returned home to the Congo and saw the need to train people in management. When we visited the school, we became friends instantly. He is a real character. But, he has a great concept. He teaches (preaches may be a better word) that everything in life is about management. Sure, you can get a degree in engineering, but without a basis of management, you will not build a business.
We toured the school - starting with K-12 and on through University. We went into a classroom. Typical of the school culture here, everyone jumps to their feet, and greets the professor. He has a mantra: He shouts, "management," the class responds by shouting "Treasure." Repeated three times. Management, Treasure; Management, Treasure, Management, Treasure, Treasure, Treasure, Treasure." We even went into a class of 4th graders, they knew the chant. He let me lead it in one of the classrooms.
We invited him to our fireside. He took over the audience, had everyone on the edge of their seats with his management philosophy. As he started to sit down, I said, "wait, what is the mantra?" He of course lead everyone in the Management-Treasure cheer.
Then, the next week, he sent us an invitation to attend his wife's graduation of her receiving her PHD from the University of Kinshasa. We need more educators like him here. You will see him in the pictures. He is wearing the brightest ever yellow shirt with matching tie and pocket square.
We have also been asked by stake presidents to help find creative ways to find employment for their people. We are looking at entrepreneur training, English classes, etc.
The Church is sponsoring sewing classes in each stake. The Humanitarian Services are providing several sewing machines to each stake in order to teach the women to sew. Because of the lack of electricity, the two options are pedal machines and hand crank machines. Most of the women prefer hand crank to pedal. So, the Humanitarian Services are buying hand crank machines. Singer still makes them.
A person can make a living sewing. Most women dress in traditional Congolese dress. These are not available at Macy's. In fact, Macy's is not available. So most of these dresses are hand sewn and sold to friends and neighbors.
Once a person learns to sew, she or he could start a little business for themselves.
We have a hand crank Singer we brought from the U.S. with us, thanks to Jason's friend. We will give it to someone who has completed the sewing class and the upcoming entrepreneur class.
Elder Hatch and I are working on an entrepreneurial class to teach here. We are using several sets of resource material, that can be taught to our members. The basics of free enterprise and entrepreneurship are not taught or even experienced, so we are tailoring the class.
Also, we will start visiting businesses, governmental organizations, and NGO (non-governmental organisations - like red cross, etc. ) to encourage them to offer internships to people. Many people will work at non-paying internships, simply for the experience, and the opportunity for future employment.
English classes are also a key to employment. With English skills, Embassies, NGOs, etc. are great options. One of our PEF students who speaks good English and is taking networking at Cisco, just got a great job at the U.S. Embassy.
We really love what we are doing. If any of y'all are thinking about missions, do it. With the new Couple Missionary program, it is really doable.