Cali Ladies Foundation for Excellence
"Together we will promote education for girls and disabled children."
CALFE is currently training and mentoring women and girls on gender based and sexual violence, reproductive health, hygienic menstruation, sexual education, early and forced marriage, as well as HIV and STD’s, on income generating activities such as the production of juices and spices. The Founder, Rose Kiningu (center), poses with volunteers and beneficiaries.
A Bit About Us
CALFE which stands for Cali Ladies Foundation for Excellence, is an organization which started at Cali (Congo American Language Institute) and was created by Cali women students of April, 2016. The aims of CALFE are: Empowerment, Improvement and Education. The main focus is on girls and disabled children. CALFE has begun to try to help some girls and disabled children of poverty in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Our goal is to try profit women and disabled children of poverty by training them in their different domains, as well as to empower them through becoming self-sufficient educationally, professionally and even financially. To meet these goals CALFE trains with both formal and informal methods. Informally they train young adults to tailor though tailoring school, as well as in school education.
In the Future
The goal of CALFE is to eventually build a center for the women and disabled children, in which they can utilize the space for tailoring production. A new space will help solicit customers, while providing a more accessible place for the disabled tailors as well. The center will also be used for future training.
Lives Improved by CALFE
Leonard Baki Twala
Leonard, better known as Papa Baki, has been one of the most influential leaders in CALFE. After being seriously injured at the age of five, Papa Baki did not allow the discrimination of being disabled to hinder his development. Trained by a Belgian aid organization, Papa Baki became an orthopedic therapist in 1986, working in a large hospital in Kinshasa. Frustrated with the constant discrimination and lack of salary during the end of Mobutu’s time, he began looking for a way to help the poor and disabled of Kinshasa. He soon found a home in a suburb of Kinshasa and quickly became famous after helping a child re-learn to walk with braces he had fashioned out of discarded materials. Papa Baki adopted a child who was abandoned by his family due to deformities in his limbs. Papa Baki continues to hand craft his patients braces and prosthetics using a manual drill, cement and whatever else he can find. His workshop is a small 10 by 10 foot room with no power, and walls covered with anatomy and bone posters. “It takes me about a week to make one prosthetic for someone.” Papa Baki says demonstrating the physical work to manually drill a hole into plastic. Papa Baki dreams of creating a center to increase his outreach and effectiveness. “I could die today, or tomorrow, that is why I need someone to succeed me, and take over so that my practice does not die when I do.” Papa Baki states. Indeed, while Papi Baki hopes that we can raise enough money for a center, he could literally use almost anything. From used braces and crutches to power tools and a generator, he needs our help. The disabled children are dependent on him.
Tresor Mambio Aembe (Middle, Black Shirt)
Tresor Mambio who is currently 22, was born a healthy boy, until the age five when one of his legs stopped growing and became a shorter length as the other, causing him to have difficulties in standing and mobility. His parents separated due to his disability and abandoned him, leaving him alone. Hearing of CALFE he traveled there and met with the orthopedic therapist Papa Baki who created a leg extension and adopted. Through CALFE, he went to school to get an education and his diploma. Tresor has learned English through a program associated with the US Embassy. Tresor would like to have a center to train people how to make shoes and to tailor so that he can help others.
Mvura is one of the most inspiring people you will ever meet. At the age of four Mvura Jose was severely burned in a cooking fire in her house. Due to her extensive burns she went to South Africa for plastic surgery and an education, however, her father could not afforded to pay for school and sent her back to Kinshasa. She surprised everyone with her English when we met her, demanding to the interpreter that she be allowed to tell her own story! Papa Baki has been performing physical therapy on her hand for almost 10 years, helping her get back some of her lost mobility due to scarring Through CALFE she also received a sewing machine, and a tailoring education. As well as her informal education of tailoring school, she has been attending high school and is in her fifth year. Only 18 she faces regular discrimination and lacks customers regardless of her tailoring training. She remains inspiring telling everyone “I would like to go to university after I finish high school, my dream is to become a fashion designer.”
In one of the saddest and most disturbing stories, we meet Lucy, who, like many others was disabled from a misplaced injection for anti-malarials that destroyed a nerve in her leg. Disabled from the age of three she was raped at the age of 16 and left with a child. After being introduced to CALFE, Papi Baki helped create a prosthetic for her leg so that she could walk. The organization bought her a sewing machine and sent her to a trade school for two years to learn how to be a tailor. As a result of CALFE, she is now in the process of developing a steady source of income to care for herself and her baby.
Pianjo Matondo Patrick
Pianjo is CALFE's first beneficiary and is a great example of how important training is for changing the lives of the disabled. Before his training he lived on the streets of Kinshasa, begging from passing cars. “I would ask for clothes, food and money anything I needed to survive," he notes. Hearing of CALFE and their work with the disabled and goal to get and keep people off of the streets, Pianjo went to them, expecting clothes and money. CALFE did not want to temporarily ease his suffering; rather, they wanted to provide him with a future. CALFE sent him to a tailoring school for two years, in hopes of providing him with an education that would allow him to provide for himself. “Through CALFE I received purpose - before I saw no future for myself.” CALFE was able to supply Pianjo with a sewing machine, allowing him to have clients and become financially independent.
Mapatama Kamina Cecile
Mupatama is a nine year old living with her parents and is in primary school as well as tailoring school. Before arriving at CALFE, Mupatama did not have the strength to pick anything up. Mupatama comes from a large family, of thirteen, making it impossible for her parents to be able to afford a physical therapy as well as a wheelchair. An unknown illness at the age of three left her unable to walk and her brother to carry her everywhere. The orthopedic therapist at CALFE has helped her regain her strength over the last five years and provided her with a wheelchair. Mupatama hopes to someday have crutches to continue her recovery and continue gaining mobility.
Esher was a born a healthy child, living a normal life until the age of three years when she was injected by Mefloquine, a drug that prevents Malaria. Unfortunately the Mefloquine that saved her life, destroyed nerves in her leg causing her leg to be too weak to move. She worked with the orthopedic therapist, Papa Baki, for 20 years to help with strengthen her leg. He made a brace from various materials that he found by attaching them together. With time and practice, as well as physical therapy she was able to walk. Esher is currently living with her older sister and going to a university to learn math. She wants to have a center of different handcrafting workshops where there she can train people.