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From Minnesota to the Congo!

Dear Friends on PulseWire,

The Minnesota Women's Press published a nice profile on my background and my current work in the Congo. I thought that you might be interested in reading this story. To find out more about the story please click on the following link:

Best regards,


SAFER's picture

microfinance in eastern DRC?

Hi Chingwell! I just came across your organization on PulseWire. It is fantastic! I also read Banker to the Poor and thought that translating the idea of microfinance to the DRC would be a great "first step"! Do you operate in the eastern regions? how do you find clients?

I am with SAFER, an organization that collaborates with the Panzi Hospital in Bukavu. We purchase and transport medical supplies that are required to treat sexual violence survivors. We are keenly aware, however, that medical treatment is necessary but not sufficient for full rehabilition. The women need sustainable income, and microfinance might be just the way. Any thoughts?

Assante sana :)

Chingwell's picture

Good to hear from you Cathy!

Hi Cathy,

It is very good to hear from you and I am glad to learn that your organization (SAFER) is operating in East Congo. That is wonderful. I agree with you; microfinance is a great "first step" for DRC as many women need sustainable income to help them stand on their own two feet. Our organization (First Step Initiative) is currently operating in the Southern part of the Congo (Katanga region) where many displaced people have migrated. The need for microfinance is huge, and we hope that one day we will be able to provide more micro-financing opportunities to many parts of the Congo. Most of our clients find out about First Step Initiative through word of mouth. But we also spend a lot of time interacting with people in the communities and we let them know about our services. Is SAFER looking for MFIs to partner with the Eastern part of the Congo? Please let me know.

Best regards,


ila's picture

Chingwell very well!

It sounds like you are an amazing woman with many stories to tell. May I please ask you to go to my journal and make a comment on "Say my Name..."? I would like to know the story of your beautiful name. Thank you.

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