Congo, a workshop in full growth

Following Antoinette Fage, a dressmaker among other young women during the 19th century, the workshop with that name seeks to bring about solidarity among women who wish to improve their skills in “cutting out and sewing’’. It is on the outskirts of Kinshasa, close to our communities, that this workshop for development and mutual international help is to be found.

For several years, young local women have been coming to the Mère Marie de Jésus centre for a three-year training course. While they ask first for instruction in cutting out and sewing, the teaching offered by this centre is an overall course (Lingala, French, arithmetic, civics, a training for ‘education for life’ and the knowledge needed for running one’s home). 
Aware of having in their hands a richness to be developed for themselves, their family and the country, these women try in every way to be involved so that putting this workshop into action may provide an impetus for others. 
Knowing the enormous needs of the district and not wishing to stop with what has already been done, we are seeking all the time to carry out new projects so as to see how to develop further in the field of social education for the children or their mothers. 
This workshop operates within this partnership and it has two main objectives: 
  To work on the basis of the women’s knowledge 
for their undertaking the work… 
with work that is well done. 
  Create a space where solidarity can be practised by financing, we hope, an education project that will be directed towards the women or the children. 
Listen to what they like to say about it:
- ‘‘In this Workshop, we come to work and to improve what we have learned at the Mother Marie de Jésus Centre. Now, even if it seems difficult, we can do it.’’ 
- ‘‘When I began to work on the bags, I did not know how to make some of the stitches. I tried several times and then I was able to do them well. That is how one learns new things.’’
  ‘‘I like coming to the Workshop to know how to work well, to improve.. … I like learning to sew these bags, because it is an advantage here. Very few people do this in our district.’’ 
- ‘‘The money I earn in coming to the Antoinette Fage workshop I can give at home and that helps the whole family … 
I’m no longer a burden for them.’’
- ‘‘Now that we know how to make the bags, we are trying to find new markets, so that our solidarity can increase even more. The more we sew and the more we sell, the more money can be put into the new project.’’ 
Today we would already like to thank each one for the support we receive through these sales. Do not hesitate to ask for further information… This makes it possible to have already a solidarity with the women and the children of the district so that, little by little, the ‘‘calabash’’ is filled. All these projects that are being researched are seeking only one thing: to develop more Justice and Peace in this land of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 
Elvis, Anto, Irène and Sr Patricia
Atelier Antoinette Fage
Avenue Matankumu N°54
Q/Masina Sans Fil
Kinshasa RDC
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