Working together, growing together

Léa Gaudron
23 November 2017
In Congo, I was a prefect of studies in a secondary school and then a secondary education inspector. I saw a lot of poverty and social injustice around me and suffered several examples of injustice myself.  That had an effect on me, but instead of rebelling, I decided to act and to really fight for social justice. 

 

Marie-Thérèse YAMBI Développement

Who?

Marie Thérèse Ndumba

What?

Yambi Développement is a Wavre-based association which offers its members a range of activities including French as a foreign language lessons, sewing workshops, meetings between communities and the distribution of food parcels.

Why?

To use cooperation to reduce poverty, social injustice and isolation.

Communauté fraternelle des femmes seules (Sororal community of single women)

I founded the "Communauté fraternelle des femmes seules" in Kikwit in 1987. These widows, divorcees and single mothers needed both emotional and material support. By purchasing farmland for them, my aim was to give them work and also train them so that they could realise their potential. This land provided them with food for their family and a bit of money to pay for their children's education. I wanted to give them some autonomy and emancipate them so they could control their own destiny.

Thirty years later, the results are clear. Some of the women have been able to pick up their studies again or find a job. Several children have been able to study until secondary or university level, which is quite rare for children from single-parent families in Africa. They have acquired greater security in terms of finance and food. The results are also positive from an ecological point of view, as their soil has become more fertile through the planting of trees and has set an example for other farmers in the region. In terms of health, these women have been spared HIV as they did not need to sell their body.

Yambi Développement (Yambi Development)

I settled in Belgium in early 2006. Once again, I was struck by a similar realisation, namely that there are social injustices, but of a different kind. Myself and others in my generation have suffered discrimination regardless of our level of education. We arrived with our own cultural baggage and vision of the world, without understanding the culture of our host country.

Myself and others in my generation have suffered discrimination regardless of our level of education. We arrived with our own cultural baggage and vision of the world, without understanding the culture of our host country.

This is why we founded Yambi Africa, which then became Yambi Développement. This association is based on an exchange of knowledge, mutual assistance and encounters. We provide French, sewing and citizenship classes, which allow the cultures to come together.

Yambi has also offered a food parcel service since 2016. Donations of unsold food from Carrefour and Delhaize allow us to provide free food to people in need, whether or not they are immigrants.

Future projects

And I have no plans to stop now. Continuing our aim of improving food safety and reducing poverty, we launched a fish breeding project in Congo, financed by the municipality of Wavre and the province of Walloon Brabant.

We also launched a project in Morocco, where there was a great deal of demand. Like in the Congo, once alone, some women found it very hard to imagine a future without a man. I support the "Quartier de la joie" (the Joy district) group, which plans to develop a vegetable garden so that the women can start to learn about agriculture. Yambi, in Belgium, also plans to help finance this project by organising a Berber lunch.

The different associations I have been involved in work in partnership, as I only have one motto: working together, growing together. Always with a view to social justice. The world's problems stem from egoism, when people trample on others. Yambi's aim is for people to grow, complement each other and cooperate, together.

 

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