On Saturday 19 November 2016, I was invited to attend the very first event hosted by the Johannesburg members of the Congolese charity organisation ‘Soeur, Lève-toi’. It is a Non-Profit Organization run by Congolese young women based all over the world (USA, Europe, and Africa). The goal of the N.P.O is to mentor and uplift the youth of the Democratic Republic of Congo, particularly the underprivileged.
The event, named ‘She Talks’ was an opportunity for their two South-Africa based representative (Maliyamungu and Sara) to introduce us to their organization and its vision. They also talked to us about their Malaba scholarship program, who has successfully sent its first recipient to school, in Kinshasa.
The format of the event was an intimate and friendly talk-session where we shared and discussed about topics relevant to us. We talked about education, culture, living, studying and working abroad, how to break the stereotypes barriers in our different work environments etc.
As the oldest of the group, I was asked by Maliyamungu to share some pieces of advises on working as a freelancer in the communications and PR industry. As the audience consisted of a mix of young women about to start university, current university students and freshly graduates that is what I had to say, in summary:
1. The power of personal branding
I encouraged them to work on their personal brand, as it will allow them to stand out from the crowd, while looking for a job and to advance in their career. I have told them to utilize their unique set of skills and talents to maximize their brands. All of them are multi-cultural, multi-lingual, ambitious young women so they must tap into these resources to carve themselves a unique path.
2. Network and explore all the opportunities
I have told them how important networking is. I have learned that most of the existing jobs opportunities aren’t advertised, but they are shared within networks through word-of-mouth. So having our own networks, as young Congolese women is an excellent platform to share opportunities such as jobs openings but also students opportunities such as students grants, scholarships and internships.
She Talks event was a success, I had a great time among my young Congolese sisters and was amazed by their ambitious minds and hunger for success and the will to give back to their counterparts, at home in DRC.
If you would like to contribute to their Malaba scholarship funds, or simply connect with them to find more about their charity organization, check them out on their social media pages: Twitter and Instagram: @soeurlevetoi; FaceBook : Soeur, Leve-toi .