rotary-womanL to R: Betsy, Lucy and Anne at the United Nations in 2015, when Rotary International named Lucy a Global Woman of Action for her work in the DRC. -Photo: Monika Lozinska

Motivated to act after witnessing firsthand the ravages of civil unrest and political upheaval, and hearing poignant stories from Congolese women about the challenges of raising families in difficult socio-economic conditions, HandUp Congo was founded in 2005 by sisters, Lucy Hobgood-Brown and Anne Zolnor and their friend, Betsy Brill.

Lucy and Anne are granddaughters of American missionaries who began working in Lotumbe, Congo in 1912. Their father, Ben, born here, was also a missionary and one of the founders of the Université Protestante au Congo in Kinshasa. Lucy and Anne spent their childhoods in the Congo.

The Tale of Two Sewing Machines from Ken Kobre on Vimeo.

With the gift of Two Sewing Machines, a sewing school was born in a remote village in Congo – Lotumbe – resulting in student uniforms, newborn clothes and blankets and properly outfitted medical personnel.