Partnerships in education - Spring 2022
A Strong Congo Through Education
Education Congo scholarships that are making a difference
Misenga Ntumba shares her story
My academic journey started in 2009, when I had just
graduated from state school in Kananga. I was 18 years old
and wanted to apply for enrollment at the Congo Protestant
University in the Faculty of Medicine. I dreamed so much
of attending the UPC because I had information about the
good training given there. But since studies were expensive
there, my parents had resolved to enroll me in the University
of Our Lady of Kasai. Surprisingly, there were no more places
for new candidates in medicine on the day I applied. We
One day, my parents were invited to a wedding party. Mom
could not attend so I accompanied Dad to represent her.
We met Imck Tshikaji, Administrator Kabibu, and he told us
about a missionary who worked with a group supporting
the studies of young women (Education Congo). It was then
that we got to know Mr. Shafe and applied for scholarship
assistance through the Congo Presbyterian Church and
the UPC. Education Congo agreed to support me from the
preparatory through the final year of medical school.
I dreamed to one day become a gynecologist and public
health expert and did not want to give up my dream. In
the 3rd graduate year, I experienced difficulties—needing
just one more point in Physiology to be promoted.
Unfortunately, this meant after spending three years in
medical school, I would be unemployed.
In 2015, I enrolled in Medicine at the Vaal University of
Technology in South Africa. But as medical studies are very
expensive, my parents offered me to study nursing for four
years instead. Determined, I could not be convinced to do
anything other than medicine. My parents and I decided
that I would return to the Congo. I wanted to continue
with medicine at UPC, but I thought that Education Congo
had forgotten me and that my scholarship had been given
to someone else.
To my surprise, my name had come out
on the beneficiary list and I realized that I had not been
forgotten. When I returned to the UPC to reintegrate into the
3rd degree in medicine, my South Africa colleagues laughed
at me and said that I had made the wrong decision.
Today however, with God’s help, I have completed my
studies as a general practitioner. I thank Almighty God who
has held me for a year of internships and kept me safe even
during COVID. I want to express my feelings of gratitude to
the Shafe family and Education Congo for supporting me so
much during this long academic journey!!!
Misenga Ntumba, 2022 graduate of UPC
1,079 students graduate from UPC!
591 graduates (353 female/238 male)
388 graduates (248 female/140 male)
85 graduates (53 female/32 male)
15 graduates (3 female/12 male)
Due to continued COVID concerns, UPC did not
hold a formal large-scale university graduation
in late January, but the various faculties of Law,
Theology, Economics and Medicine held their own
smaller scale ceremonies with 1,079 students
Eighty-five students graduated
from the medical school, 53 of them female! We
celebrate and salute their success!
The newest faculty Computer Sciences had 89
student complete their 3rd year (27 female/62
Congratulations to UPC for achieving this
graduation in the midst of the challenges it faced!
Education Congo donor Jimmy Shafe tells his story
Jan and I got involved with Congo Protestant University in
2003 because it seemed to us that education is the “50-year
solution” to many of the difficulties facing the Congo. It was
a perfect complement to the more project-oriented work by
the Congo Presbyterian community that we support.
As the medical school was being founded in 2006, we
decided to create a Named Fund in honor of my parents
through Education Congo. They had been missionaries in
the Congo during WWII.
After my father died, my mother
returned from 1964 to 1974 as a teacher and single mom.
Ernie Ross, a longtime friend and fellow Congo missionary
kid, had commented to me, “Education is one thing that
once you have it, no one can ever take it away from you.”
That resonated. Jan and I decided our Named Fund should be devoted to medical students.
We are thrilled that three of the students we have assisted
have graduated from the UPC medical school (Misenga tells
her story above!) These individuals are helping to save lives
in our beloved Congo. I can think of no better way to honor
a loved one than ensuring that future lives are enhanced
Jimmy Shafe, Decatur, Georgia
Education Congo Board Member Amini Kajunju
Born in Kinshasa, Zaire, Amini comes from a family that valued education and opportunities; and family members were willing to travel far to seek them.
This outlook on the world allowed Amini to grow up in Japan, Liberia and the USA. While working for a private university in Côte d’Ivoire, Amini came across Education Congo’s website and was immediately interested in learning more. She sent an email to then Chairperson of the Board Margaret Loewen asking for information on how she could make an impact. Amini has served on the Education Congo board since 2019 and is currently the chair of the Development Committee.
Having recently moved back to Monrovia, Liberia, after living in NYC for 25 years, Amini serves as Chief Operating Officer for the EJS Center. In this capacity, she supports former Liberian President H. E. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and the Executive Director in the establishment and management of the Center’s financial, reporting, administrative and
operational processes and systems.
Prior to joining the EJS Center Team, she was Executive Director of the International University of Grand Bassam (IUGB) Foundation, which is dedicated to making IUGB, located in Côte d’Ivoire, a center of excellence for higher education in Africa. Amini joined the foundation from Africa Integras, where she served as Director of Strategic
Partnerships. Africa Integras, a New York-based firm invests in the development of education infrastructure at African universities.
Amini was honored as “Advocate of the Year” at Applause Africa’s African Diaspora Awards 2013 and was named Forbes’ 20 Young Power Women in Africa 2013; she was also featured on CNN’s African Voices in 2013. Amini serves as an advisory member of the University of South Africa and The African Centre for the Study of the US at Wits
University. In 2020, she was awarded World Remit Top 10 Influential Migrant Africans in the USA.
Amini holds a BA in International Relations with an emphasis on Economic Development from Brigham Young University and a Master’s degree in Public Administration with a concentration in Finance & Management from New York University’s
Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.
Amini is fluent in French and English and has a basic understanding of Swahili and Lingala.