In the early 2000s, Joella Mbiliki (’16) and her family were living in Bunia when war broke out. Her family lost almost everything, including their land and livestock, and fled to Uganda as refugees. After resettling in Kisingani, DR Congo years later, Joella left Kisingani to study at UCBC. She said she chose UCBC because of “the values, formation, and knowledge gained would be used to benefit herself, her family, and community.” She was the president of UCBC’s Women’s Voices (2015 – 16) and now works for the DRC embassy in Kampala, Uganda.
What are three things you enjoyed about UCBC?
Joella: First of all, I will say there is community. There is self-confidence and Christian spirituality. The training that we receive has a vision which will allow us to be recognized as students, and to learn not just for a moment, but for an entire lifetime. This enables us to cultivate self-confidence, and wherever we are, to serve the community. UCBC encourages us to be a reference, a model so that others will learn from us.
Why would you encourage young women to attend UCBC?
Joella: First of all, it is our purpose to reach all classes of society in Beni town, girls who are yet to attend and complete secondary school, and even primary school students to recognize who they are. How can we know woman voices if that voice cannot be heard? That is why we visit those women, to speak to them, holding conferences, working with them to let them understand their role, who they are, who they want to become in the future.
Adding on to that, it would be good to attend UCBC and experience the transformation advocated there. A transformation that is related to leadership within all domains… in economics, communication, theology, applied sciences.
It is now known, that those who have come to UCBC make a difference in employment and professional life. Nowadays, we can see [alumni] reflect as good fruit from UCBC in society. There are differences by our way of acting, reacting, working, dialoguing, sharing with strangers, which allows others to identify those from UCBC. It is for us like a personality, it identifies us.
When new students have an organization like Women Voices they will have a community, they will sensitize their colleagues to share about the challenges for women and see how they can solve them, how to create solutions about many problems in our society, in our communities, and in our associations. They will encourage other women who may not study to desire leadership and help those in need of service, positively influencing their community…There are women in the Bible like Deborah who was Prophet, and Esther who make a mark on their time….Naomi, Ruth. Why not us, women at UCBC. This will allow the transformation to start with us because the society needs us, the DRC needs us. People always say “something must change”… and we believe this must start with us. Because when we are determined and engaged in the training and transformation promoted here, this will help us transform Congo. And we should work strongly so that our generation should have good fruit that can change the reality of our country, the DRC.
What did you enjoy about being a leader in Women’s Voices?
Joella: It was a pleasure for me because being president of Women’s Voices is a practice of leadership. As they always say, “Start where you are.” I have to start where I am, and this transformation will allow other girls, not only those of UCBC, but all over the society, so that us girls we will recognize, as young student engage, determined, we will have self-confidence, esteem, and use our knowledge, capacity, and talents for the well being of community.