My name is NANGALULA VERA, my home village is Remera Uvira District, Congo. I did grade 6 primary school as my education journey. I am 46 years old and a mother to 11 children.
Both my parents died when I was 9 years old and my young sisters and I grew up under my Auntie’s care in Remera. I was taken to live with my husband against my own will, as my Auntie was an abandoned woman whose life was going through several difficulties. Her husband left her with 9 children and never returned. As my Auntie found herself unable to afford to pay for the needs of her children and that of me and my young sisters, she decided to take me to a man for marriage at the age of 14 years old. This man was an alcoholic. Days later, my 4 young sisters faced the same fate, being forced into marriage against their will.
During my marriage, I can’t say that I really ever experienced happiness. I was living with a man who was not my choice, and almost 20 years older than me. I was everything in my household. I had to cultivate the land to feed my family on my own. My children did not have a chance to go to school as I could not afford to pay the school fees. On top of it all, my husband started trading household stuff for alcohol. After 29 years of struggle in this marriage, my husband passed away. One year after my husband’s death, I narrowly escaped being raped, twice during the night by armed men in my village.
Two years now since I left the village, escaping the dangers of life with my children. Something that makes me so sad is when I hear my young boy saying that he wants to become a bus driver. Without schooling he will not be able to follow his dream.
I was so excited the first time I heard of the reading program at Grace Orphanage and that it will target widows and single mothers. I am one of those who live in a different world due to my low education level compared to others. With only grade 6 I feel left behind in so many things of today’s world. I’m living in the same world with others but with a lot of limitations which always makes me feel inferior. Whenever I am before others in my community, I feel that people do not consider my opinions even if I speak to them. The good news that I am holding onto is that through this reading program at Grace Orphanage, I’m going to improve my reading, gain new knowledge, and build relationships with other women in the community. My expectation is that after the training I will be empowered to help my two young children to achieve a better future. I believe that through my new status after training, I would become helpful in my community in general. Thank you for all the initiators of this project.