Dismissed by its national government and forgotten by the international community, Aru, DRC is a place where development struggles. The cycle of poverty continues because basic concepts designed to help families succeed are absent. Gathered data recognized that few people had prior knowledge on budgeting and savings. Poor education makes it nearly impossible to grow an economy, and even with some technical skills, ongoing violence and governmental instability make applying them difficult.
Totonga Bomoi is a direct response to these challenges. It was started when Katie Hile arrived in the DRC as a volunteer in 2010 and received a simple request from a good friend: Mama Aroyo asked for help generating income to build a home for her family. Recognizing her talent as a seamstress, Katie requested that she make 25 African handbags that she could sell to family and friends in the U.S. Soon after Mama Aroyo received her profits, other women in the village expressed interest in joining the project: giving them the idea and courage to create an artisan’s cooperative. Over 15 artisans are now participating in the cooperative.
Totonga Bomoi seeks to connect Congolese artisans to global consumers so that families and communities can thrive. The points of its mission include: Handcrafted to Serve; Entrepreneur Empowerment; Community Building; Economic Justice & Human Dignity; and Created to Inspire.
Fair wages for artisans along with artisan and business skills training from Totonga Bomoi.
Artisans are given access to skills training and business development services to grow their businesses and incomes. In turn, they have been able to build homes, support education for their families, and support one another. Learn more.