What did four years at l’Université Chrétienne Bilingue du Congo (UCBC) mean for Juliette Kavugho Mali (’14)? The youngest of three girls, Juliette was the first one in her family to attend university. At UCBC, she found a community that encouraged a commitment to critical thinking, service, integrity, and equality.
In Juliette’s own words: “UCBC is encouraging women in education and preparing women to be leaders. We can see it throughout the community. Even though some places in Africa believe to educate a woman is to lose money and time. I say that is wrong! I know to educate a woman is to educate the whole nation.”
A native of Beni, Juliette witnessed students and alumni throughout the community making a positive impact on her hometown. After receiving notification she passed the state exam required to attend a university in Congo, she enrolled at UCBC in 2011.
As she reflects on her time at UCBC, she recalls the way it shaped her life. “It shaped my life intellectually and spiritually, transforming the way I see things. Before I felt hopeless and thought negatively about our situation, but UCBC taught me to think positively and to hope even in the face of challenges.”
Working and collaborating with her peers, she learned some very practical things that helped propel her into her job at RAW International Bank in Beni.
“I learned all my English at UCBC and today I am able to speak with different customers who are from different countries, some of them do not know French, but I am able to speak with them without any problem. I also learned computer skills at UCBC and now work on a computer without a problem.”
When asked about her favorite moments at UCBC, Juliette smiles widely as she proclaims, “Chapel Time!” She often felt God’s presence during the midday worship services and this encouraged her and the community.
The unique Christian identity of UCBC sets it apart from many universities in DR Congo. For one, corruption is often found in university settings. Bribes for good grades are common. Moreover, Juliette explained the significance of living in a community that valued students thoughts and contributions, providing them the opportunity to share as equals to leaders and staff, something that is uncommon elsewhere in Congo.
It is in this context and atmosphere where students learn the importance of servant leadership. And for Juliette, she believes it is this servant leadership that will transform Congo.