“We thought we could train 20 teenage mothers at most, but now we have 40 and more mothers are still knocking on our door. This makes us realize that the need is real,” the MHM Priest says.
The challenge at the Centre, Fr. Bolengu says, is space. He says and expresses hope that with donors coming on board, the Centre will be able to construct four big classrooms, which can accommodate three different cohorts of the young mothers who he says are eager to turn their lives around.
Another room of the envisioned formation Centre will be the store where the sewing machines are kept.
Fr. Bolengu says that a desire to live with the poorest of the poor drives the MHM Congregation spirit to serve the most deprived people in DRC.
“I remember one day, I was chatting with a Priest who asked me why our Congregation had to pass Kinshasa and other better places nearby the city and, instead, chose to come to such difficult places,” he says.
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He adds, “In terms of Mission, Our Society considers this place as the ‘neediest’. This is evident from the beginning of our mission in DRC in 1905 when we passed all town places in DRC and went to start the mission in the Congo Forest, where many of our missionaries have remained among their people – sharing their insecurity and deprivation, reinforcing their faith, teaching the young, ministering to the sick and preparing Priests for the future.”
The MHM Congregation has remained in the most remote parts of DRC for decades and has worked together with poor locals to erect church buildings, to build schools, health centers, and vocation centers.
Expressing gratitude to those who are already supporting the inception of the Bakanja-Anuarite Formation Centre, Fr. Bolengu launches an appeal for more support to expand the center and to meet the growing needs in the deprived Parish.
“We are grateful to all people who are directly or indirectly supporting us in bringing life in abundance to these young people,” he says, and adds, “Any person who would like to support this center can pass through the Mill Hill Missionaries, or contact me, Fr. Patrick Lonkoy Bolengu at email@example.com, especially for the construction of these four classrooms.”
He further appeals, “We also have an urgent need to expand our mechanic and ministry training for boys, and construct the dormitory for children for both primary and secondary schools. Anyone can support us in any of these projects.”
Agnes Aineah is a Kenyan journalist with a background in digital and newspaper reporting. She holds a Master of Arts in Digital Journalism from the Aga Khan University, Graduate School of Media and Communications and a Bachelor's Degree in Linguistics, Media and Communications from Kenya's Moi University. Agnes currently serves as a journalist for ACI Africa.