'Heart for Congo' fundraiser features auction, films, performances


The Democratic Republic of the Congo -- a vast, resource-rich, yet underdeveloped and war-torn nation in central Africa -- is one of the poorest countries in the world.

A Pittsburgh couple with deep ties to the region, Becky and Jeff Cech, have decided to do something to help. "Heart for Congo" is a cultural event and fundraiser supporting a teaching project in the Congo, featuring a silent auction of art, Congolese snacks, crafts, short films, and a performance by the Wacongo Dance Company, a traditional Congolese dance and music ensemble. The event is Saturday at the Paramount Pictures Film Exchange, a historic building in Pittsburgh's Uptown neighborhood.

The silent art auction features donated works from primarily local artists, including James Simon, Christo Braun, Tim Oliveira and Pat Perry. Proceeds benefit the Congolese Advocacy Memorial Project (C.A.M.P.) Fund, which supports a rural nursing school, medical aid organization and teaching projects.

This year, C.A.M.P. is collaborating with a Congolese university on "The Jitoe Project," which seeks to help build Congo's professional class. In Swahili, Jitoe means "give of yourself," an expression that describes gifts of time, service and talent The Cechs will contribute their professional skills for a year in the Congo. Jeff Cech, who recently earned a master's degree in journalism and media arts from Duquesne University, will teach classes at the Universite Chretienne Bilingue du Congo (UCBC) in broadcast journalism and media ethics.

Becky Cech, a Ph.D. student at the University of Pittsburgh, grew up in a rural area of the Congo, where her father was a hospital administrator and headmaster of a nursing school. She plans to teach writing and African literature at UCBC.

"Heart for Congo" will last from 5 to 9 p.m. Saturday. The Paramount Film Exchange is located at 1727 Boulevard of the Allies, with an entrance on Miltenberger Street. Admission is $5. Details:


News source: 'Heart for Congo' fundraiser features auction, films, performances - Pittsburgh Tribune-Review


Friday, January 28, 2011

Fundraiser and Cultural Event will Support Teaching Project in the Congo

The "Heart for Congo" will be held this Saturday (January 29th) in the Uptown District of Pittsburgh. The event will include a silent art auction, with pieces donated by local artists, as well as a performance by the Wacongo Dance Company (a traditional Congolese music and dance troop). All proceeds will go to the Congolese Advocacy Memorial Project (C.A.M.P.) initiative of the Fulton County Medical Center.

The C.A.M.P. Fund also hosts ongoing projects in Congo, collaborating with local institutions, Technical Medical Institute of Rwanguba, and a medical aid organization HEAL Africa to operate a rural nursing school.


Saturday's event focuses on education in Congo. Event co-coordinator Jeff Cech says there is a big need for materials and teachers and the fundraiser will help the education of Congolese students.... "We're raising funds to specifically (support) a project, the Jitoe Project. Jitoe means 'to give of yourself' in Swahili. So the project is one that's hoping to send Rebecca (another coordinator) and myself to teach at University for two semesters."

Event Co-Coordinator Rebecca Cech says the idea is to educate a large number of people so that they will want to get involved in government and make peace sustainable...."Our entire goal is to put the power in the right hands of the people who are actually doing good. People who are professionals and in positions to break the cycles of violence.
She says that giving an education to Congolese students is a main way of providing leadership the country needs. The fundraiser will take place from five to nine p.m. in the former Paramount Studios Building (1727 Blvd. of the Allies).

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