From tragedy, a student rises to become an entrepreneur and educator

Carmel found support through Future Hope Afrida

Because of Future Hope Africa, she can work, dream and invest in others.

She’s a business woman. A teacher. And a student.

And all of that simultaneously.

Carmel’s life has been shaped by challenges and influenced by the work of Future Hope Africa (FHA).

In 2012, 17-year-old Carmel responded to an invitation to attend the Princess Club, an outreach to young women in Bukavu. Shortly afterward, she graduated high school and began her studies at the prestigious Catholic University of Eastern Africa in Nairobi, Kenya.

That wasn’t the last of Carmel’s involvement with the club or FHA. She made sure to visit when she was home from school during holidays.

But in 2016, tragedy struck her family. As Carmel was preparing for her senior finals, her father died.

It was a disaster. My whole world fell apart and I could not see my future anymore.
— Carmel

Her father, a professor, earned enough to support four children in college. But now he was gone.

“He treated me like a princess,” Carmel said. “He would never refuse me anything if I asked.”

A turning point
Her father’s death led to a turning point in her life. Unable to afford school, she had to find a new direction. But it’s a direction she had already begun through her involvement with Future Hope Africa.

One of the purposes of the Princess Club is to help young women develop entrepreneurial skills. Carmel had already started a part-time business making Congolese donuts while a student in Kenya.

In 2017, she joined the staff of Future Hope Africa as a teacher in the school tutoring program.

“One month later, when I got my first paycheck, I added it to other money I was saving with my friends in Nairobi to open a restaurant in my parents’ garage,” Carmel said.

Carmel is an after-school instructor at the Kanega Education Center of Future Hope Africa. “Working with the children is such a treat to me. They love me as their big sister and confidant. They tell me stories about themselves and make me feel so useful.”

Carmel is an after-school instructor at the Kanega Education Center of Future Hope Africa. “Working with the children is such a treat to me. They love me as their big sister and confidant. They tell me stories about themselves and make me feel so useful.”

One year later, the restaurant is still in business and it’s helping pay for family needs, including her younger brother’s education.

But that’s not the end of the story. In the fall of 2018, she decided to resume her college work locally in Bukavu.

“It’s hard to give up on the high standard of studies I experienced in Nairobi, but I feel like this is what I need to do right now. My hope is that someday I will be able to go back and finish my program,” she said.

“Here I can study in the morning, work at the FHA education center in the afternoon and at the restaurant in the evening. Then, I can still have the little money to help supply for my needs and my family’s.”

She also has another option for the future.

Carmel attended FHA’s Focus Business School program, where she learned Biblical principles for running a sound and ethical business. Because of her participation, she is eligible to receive a micro-loan if she chooses to expand.

“Working at FHA is such an honor,” she said. “It makes me feel like my life has a purpose.”

You can help provide education and opportunity for more young men and women like Carmel by contributing to Future Hope Africa.



Roy Harryman