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Spring 2022

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 were discouraged.

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 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

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 through education.

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.