International Ministries

Mission Project for the Mitendi Center in Congo is Nearly Fully Funded!

May 23, 2011 News

Thanks in large part to the generous contribution of $13,000 from American Baptist Women of New York, the Mitendi Center mission project is within striking range of reaching its 2011 fundraising goal of $15,700!  Mitendi is a vital residential program for women at-risk for prostitution in the Democratic Republic of the Congo,


Another $2,050 was given by individuals and churches around the country, bringing the total raised to $15,050.  Contributions are still being sought for the remaining $650. Please click here if you’d like to help. 


The Mitendi Center mission project was submitted by missionary Jill Lowery and is promoted by American Baptist International Ministries (IM).  The goal is to outfit the Mitendi Center with sewing machines, fabric and yarn, knitting supplies and equipment to open a small restaurant. 


Located at a crossroads just outside the capital of Kinshasa, the Mitendi Center is a safe haven for girls and young women ages 14 – 18 who are at risk for prostitution.  Open 24 hours a day, this residential center offers counseling, job training in literacy, life skills and job skills, and the hope of a life free of bondage and degradation from prostitution.


The women of Congo first dreamt of creating the center in the 1908s.  American Baptist Women’s Ministries made it their national project in the 1990s raising over $100,000 to buy the land and build the center.  Grasses of brown and green were planted in the shape of a cross in the central courtyard, a constant reminder that God is at the center of everything they do.    


War broke out in 1998, and soldiers took over the center, destroying all the furniture, plumbing, doors and windows, stripping the center bare. The women of Kinshasa managed to reopen the center in 2002 with some sewing machines, a few mattresses and benches for the classrooms.


Recently, the AB Women’s Ministries Encounter Tour of Africa stopped at the Mitendi Center while in Congo.  The 15 women were greeted with the excited shouts of the girls who live at Mitendi.  “They’re coming!  They’re coming!”


The women on the tour were stunned by the level of need they encountered at Mitendi.  “They don’t even have a bed to sleep in” said Chris Marziale, AB Tour Coordinator.  “These girls are sleeping on the floor, with mattresses in terrible ondition.  My heart went out to them.  The volunteers and Jill Lowery are doing the best they can with the limited funds they have.”


Several of the tour participants brought supplies with them for Mitendi including a bolt of fabric, yarn, needles and thread.  After seeing the conditions at Mitendi, member of the tour started buying local crafts in Congo to sell in her home church.  The money will be given to Jill Lowery to buy additional supplies for Mitendi. 


If you would like to send sewing and needlework supplies to Mitendi, check the 2011 Mission Service Projects book available by calling 1 800 4 JUDSON.