I was born into a poor family – my parents could not afford to send me to university. I began to work when I finished secondary school and I did my best to do well. I was appreciated by my bosses and was promoted to a leadership position, which opened doors for me to get a scholarship for my university studies in a foreign country. Inspired by development, I got a degree in Community Development from one of the best universities in Kenya.
The idea for Action Entraide came to me when I was on the bus, travelling from Fortportal to Kampala, in Uganda, in 2008. That was after the deadly civil war when people were starving in villages surrounding Bunia, as a result of displacement and lack of food. Looking at that situation, I thought people coming together and joining their efforts would be a good idea.
This would bring mutual support and an increase in productivity, therefore bringing a long-lasting solution. Once I returned from the trip in Uganda, I immediately shared the idea with some community people and we sat down and formed the committee and that was the beginning of Action Entraide.
I lost 13 people from my family members and relatives, massacred among 270 people in Bogoro village. There was still a risk for the rest of my family to get killed as well (my mother, brother and sister) as they did not manage to leave the area where ethnic killings were still going on. Since I was not in a position to do something and rescue the people, I completely relied on God and I felt closest to Him.
My favourite verse is Colossians 3:23-24, “Everything you do, do it with a good heart as for the Lord, not for humans, knowing that you will receive the heritage for compensation from the Lord.” These verses strengthen me when I tend to be discouraged.
My greatest achievement is to see Action Entraide, which I initiated out of nothing, still operating today. The fact that some ethnic groups involved in killings between 1989 to 2003, can sit together, talk together, eat and work together today, is a result of peace-building initiatives through Action Entraide.
In this video, filmed in the DRC this summer, Kalonga talks about one of Action Entraide’s projects - a simple travel fund started with a monthly contribution of $1.00 each by the women of Zumbe in the north east of the country. The women tell of how the project enables expectant mothers in the village who experience complications to access the local hospital by motorbike taxi.
Kalongo Rwabikango the founder of Action Entraide, which is a partner of Tearfund and is instrumental in this year’s World Development Appeal in Democratic Republic of Congo.
For more information on the 2017 Appeal, you can download it here.
This blog was taken from Life Lessons, which appeared in the December 2017/January 2018 edition of the Presbyterian Herald.
To donate to the 2017 World Development Appeal please click here.