DR CONGO - Najenga Training Center

Community Development

$31,095 raised

One of the most brutal and long lasting civil wars in the history of continental Africa continues to rage at the borderland between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Burundi. Caught up in historical fighting between tribal factions are children and families in need of security, care and hope.

Najenga is a Swahili invitation to "Come and build."

The Najenga Training Center is being deveoped on 3 hectares of fertile land in the Uvira Region. Building began in 2010 with the aim to become a multi-discipline training center serving the surrounding community. It will facilitate training in business, education, agriculture, sports, government, medicine, and church ministry. 

The first 4 buildings are currently being completed, including a large multi-purpose site, administration and accommodations. An agricultural training project is also underway. Located in close proximity to 3 rural villages, Najenga will eventually provide early childhood education for some of the surrounding young children, as well as education in nutrition and hygiene for the local population.

Your donation contributes to the ongoing development of the Najenga Training Center.


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Project Updates

  • We have been working tirelessly at the Najenga Training Center, creating a place where people can be trained, children can go to school, and so much more. Here is a video update...



  • An update from HOPE agents, Ray and Mary Anne Bale, on the progress at Najenga:

    We are working toward the completion of the training center and nursery school. The foundations are completed and ready for the placement of the storage container. Once that is in place, walls and pillars will be erected for the center. We are hoping to have the roof of the guest house in place by summer. The neighboring village children are excited to see things progressing!

    Mathongo has begun planting moringa trees on the land as well as other crops. We have been able to travel many times into Congo for day trips to encourage the teachers and staff, as well as keep regular contact with the village next to our land in Rutemba. The rains have stopped and the roads are now (somewhat) passible. 

  • What began as a 3 month missions trip for Ray and Mary Anne Bale ended up changing their lives and growing their family. Now, twelve years later, the couple continue their work with HOPE’s support as they help build thriving communities for children in a post-war region of Africa.

    The word ‘Jenga’ derives from the Swahili word ‘Najenga’ meaning ‘We are building’ which is exactly what Ray and Mary Anne have been doing for the past 11 years.

    The Bale’s home church, Vernon Christian Fellowship, is holding a benefit on June 8th at 6:00pm to help support the ongoing efforts in Congo and Burundi. ‘The Najenga Project’ will feature a concert with international recording artist Ezra Kwizera, the Ord Family Band, and other local acts. A silent auction will be held thanks to the generous contributions of musicians, artisans, and donations from local businesses and individuals. Hand-made pottery bowls created by Marijanel Knight will be sold full of ice-cream and brownies. All to support the ongoing building efforts!

    One week into their three month missions trip, Ray and Mary Anne realized that 3 months just wasn’t going to be enough time to accomplish what they felt God had led them to do. They felt called to stay in Africa and lend their support. They took over management of a school in the area and began rebuilding it back to stability. Even with the conflict caused by militia groups, students and teachers began to return to the school. After a few years Ray and Mary Anne felt pulled in a different direction and left Burundi to work in Congo where they would later adopt their now ten year old son, Boss David.

    Several years ago, the Bales visited a Congolese school that was in the earlier stages of development when the funding was cut off. This became the first project that saw Mary Anne and Ray becoming partners with HOPE as funds were raised and the school was completed and now houses over 900 students. They also have a school of 200 children in the high plateau of Eastern Congo, a children’s village, five homes for orphans, and construction has begun on a sixth home. The village also houses a flour mill, sewing centre, and a carpentry works.

    But there’s still a great deal of work to do; Overseeing the building of the training centre on the new land, seeing the school in the mountains finished, more homes built for orphans, the school in Uvira renovated, and working with the village next to the land, an emergency surgery clinic established, and many more things! Thanks to fundraising efforts by Vernon Christian Fellowship and HOPE, these projects can become a reality.

    “Life just happens,” said Mary Anne in regards to their work in Africa. “We didn’t come as white “missionaries” but just to serve the people here. It changed often as life does when you live with people. There are needs and if you can be helpful, you do so.”




  • The location is Uvira, East Congo.

    This amazing 3 hectare piece of land was purchased from the 'king' in this region.

    In the month of May, Ray Bale, Ruben and I were in Uvira looking for a piece of land that would serve the community well in matters of education, agriculture and health care for the local residents.

    We were approached by the 'Chef du Zone' who took us to 3 hectares of rich and productive land located alongside the major highway into Uvira. We were delighted with the possibilities when we walked the property.

    The front of the property ... on the highway where we can build a clinic.

    The back of the property ... on a hill where we can build homes and catch the breeze.

    The right side of the property ... a sizeable stream to provide water and irrigation.

    The soil is rich for agricultural production ... both for distribution and retail sales.

    Indeed, this is land 'fit for a king'!

  • HFTN co-founder and president Ralph Bromley, was travelling through the Congo recently to visit our country partner’s schools, homes, and students.

    “I was sleeping in a dirty Congolese hotel in the city of Uvira, sweating under a mosquito net and trying to catch some sleep before driving up to the high plateau to see HFTN’s schools, homes and students.”

    Although he was excited for the visit, he was keenly aware of the possible dangers of the 7 hour journey up the mountain over very rough roads. Recently, 6 of our students were cut down by rebel cross-fire on their way down the mountain on foot to write school exams, victims of Africa’s “world war.”

    In his restlessness the night before his journey, Ralph shares some inspirational thoughts.

    If a bullet pierced my side, would I “forgive them for they know not what they do?” Rebel’s madness, commander’s orders.

    A spear, then a symbol of cruel domination, yet to be turned into plough shares. A bullet, now a symbol of rebel’s power under the direction of greedy despots and corporate bosses.

    Will the heat of molten metal ever transform these projectiles to pencils? Will war and rebel activity ever be replaced by schools and students?

    Today’s youth cry out: “How long, Oh Lord”?

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$31,095 raised
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