Featured Project: Democratic Republic of Congo

The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is struggling to emerge from a war that claimed over 5 million lives since 1998. It is plagued by preventable disease, starvation, and continued conflict. But amidst the turmoil, support of grassroots projects working directly with local
communities can offer hope and a future to a new generation.

The First Step Initiative is a remarkable program founded by Chingwell Mutombo to address a wide range of needs in the Katanga province of the DRC. A key part of the First Step Initiatives mission is to economically empower Congolese women and their households by offering microfinance programs that support entrepreneurial efforts to aid in the development of a broader economic base in the local communities.

One of the key projects created by this initiative is a vocational training center located in Lubumbashi, the main city in the Katanga province. This school is educating young people in trades such as auto mechanics, tailoring, and carpentry, which will provide employment opportunities beyond those available to unskilled labor. In an area where one of the few opportunities to date has been as low-paid laborers in the mines, efforts like this are a bold step forward in creating a better tomorrow for the people of the DRC.

 First Step Initiative

Articles and Lectures
A sampling of writings by Brian Leber, speaking engagements, and interviews with national and international media.
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Here is a sampling of articles featuring Leber Jeweler Inc.
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