Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Jatukik Providence Foundation Presents: STAND FOR CONGO

You've all been waiting with bated breath--watching, wondering hoping, dreaming of this day. Well, worry no more--JPF's event, Stand for Congo, is tomorrow!! I'm sure you all know exactly what's going to happen, riveted as you've all been, but I'll just recap and detail what's going to happen on this epic night.

Where is it? 
Busboys and Poets on 14th and V, Washington DC, the Langston Room.  

It's a space full of class, soul, and spirit. You can almost imagine the rallies of people in the past echoing through the room. The cushy booths in the side just invite you to plop down, grab a snack, and listen to inspiring speeches. You can feast on free hummus, chips, and more.

What's happening?

Walk around and explore the space first. You can bid on some beautiful Congolese art in the back of the room, ranging from stoic paintings to inspiring masks.You can also buy jewelry, bags, and other small pieces at our other booth, comfortable in the knowledge that all of your proceeds go to aiding the people of the Congo. 

Then sit down with your food, and listen to our wonderful lineup. 

Father Jean-Claude Atusameso, Jatukik Providence Foundation
Father Jean-Claude Atusameso is a Catholic priest from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the Founder of JPF. He founded JPF in 1999, in a reaction to the poverty that he saw in the Congo. Father Jean-Claude will speak about JPF, its goals, and what it is doing to help in the D.R.C. 

Carrie Crawford, Friends of the Congo
Carrie Crawford is the chairperson and co-founder of Friends of the Congo. Ms. Crawford is a respected attorney who has campaigned tirelessly for immigrants' rights in the U.S. She is also an Executive Board member of Congo Global Action and a member of the African Judicial Network. Ms. Crawford will speak about Friends of the Congo, their work, and her personal inspirations. 

J.D. Stier, The Enough Project
J.D., the campaign manager for the Enough Project's "Raise Hope for Congo" campaign, most recently served in the White House for the Obama administration! This guy knows what he's talking about.  J.D. has co-founded and advised for multiple organizations aiming to improve the lives of others in the Congo, Uganda, and Sudan. J.D. will speak about the Raise Hope for Congo campaign and their work with regard to the conflict mineral.

Christian Kulemfuka, Gabkul Foundation
Christian Kulemfuka serves as the Public Relations Chair of the Gabkul Foundation. The Gabkul Foundation is dedicated to improving the education, health, and lives of vulnerable people in the D.R.C. Christian will speak about vulnerable populations in the Congo, and the work of the Gabkul Foundation.   

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Celebrating the Kibeti Ecovillage and Congolese Culture!

The scene is picturesque in its beauty and vibrancy. A group of women sing a joyous chorus, inspiring the crowd behind them to join in their song. They are draped in multicolored print pagnes, and have bright strips of cloth tied around their heads that bob gently with the women as they proceed in a slow dance procession. The drum behind them beats a steady, comforting rhythm behind them. Their voices ring out with strength and confidence, and they graciously ignore the intrusive video camera capturing their intimate coming-together. Men, some in t-shirts, some in suits, and others in religious garb, clap a gentle, mesmerized rhythm as well.

The beautiful scene is captured in the Jatukik Providence Foundation's Ecovillage of Kibeti during its inauguration in 2007. When Westerners think of the D.R.C., they may think of imperialism, rubber, war, famine, sexual violence, but rarely do they think of this simple, peaceful scene of celebration, religion, and music. Religion and music are inextricably intertwined in Congolese culture, weaving together in a harmony that pulls a whole community together. 

Learn about the Ecovillage and other Congolese initiatives through JPF's "Stand for Congo" event on August 1st. Check out our Facebook page and RSVP today!!


Thursday, July 12, 2012

So You Think You Know the Congo?

Well, if you don't, it's okay; the average U.S. citizen doesn't generally know too much about the region. But we thought it would be nice to give you a little quiz, show you what you know (or don't) about the D.R.C., and learn some new information whether you pass or fail the quiz!

So here's the link: 
Go ahead, give it a whirl! No reason to be shy!

Lastly, what you've all been waiting for---JPF will be hosting an event to raise awareness about the Congo on August 1!!! Free admission, free food, acquiring knowledge--really, what more could one ask for? More details to come on this next week on our blog; keep an eye out!


Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Interview with Jatukik Providence Foundation's Executive Director and Founder, Father Jean-Claude Atusameso

Father Jean-Claude, could you tell us about your childhood in the Congo?
I was born in Kinshasa, the third of eight children. I have two sisters, one is the oldest, one is the youngest. All of us in the middle are boys. My dad is an electrical engineer. At home we actually spoke six different languages! French, Lingala, and some other ones. I completed my elementary school in Kinshasa. I had a good experience there; I went to a good school where high-ranking people had attended. The grandson of Mobutu actually went to the same school as me. I decided that I wanted to be a priest at age ten, and when I was twelve I left home to study in a seminary in the Bandundu Province.

How did you decide to create JPF?
While I was at the seminary, I was shocked to see the poverty of people in the countryside—their housing, their standards of living. I thought to myself, “Someone must do something to change it.” After my studies, I decided to create JPF at the first parish I was sent to, the Catholic Mission Bengi. JPF was officially created on December 4, 1999. I had 200 villages to cover, and the last one was 80 kilometers from the Mission Center in Bengi . I had no car or bike; I was walking to say masses. Our first initiative was a housing project for seven villages. Later we added our first healthcare initiative by delivering fridges to clinics. I was then sent to the Archdiocese of Kinshasa to work, and started our streetchildren/orphans project.

How did you end up coming to the U.S. and creating an office here?
I was invited  here by friends and partners of the World Mission in Pennsylvania for meetings and plannings of our partnership initiative. I had also meetings with the Catholic Mission Board and other organizations. JPF became a U.S. organization in 2004. I did not know any English until I came to the U.S. I learned by reading and speaking with people.

What is your vision for the future of JPF?
I want JPF to play a big role in bringing support to many African countries. My first and foremost motivation is to be a good priest; it has been since I was ten years old.  But the vision of my priesthood is also connected to social welfare. Matthew 6:25-34 serves as an inspiration and a motivation for our Mission to empower the poor. This Gospel presents God as a God of providence, and it invites us to be the manifestation of this providence to the needy.