Southwestern student spearheads efforts to raise funds for a Methodist university in the Congo
Kamina Methodist University is thousands of miles from Southwestern University, but it has become very close to the heart for Southwestern student Alexandra (Allie) Klein.
Klein, a sophomore anthropology major, first heard about the university through her home church, Highland Park United Methodist Church in Dallas. KMU was founded in 2006 and is located in the North Katanga area of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Formerly known as Zaire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo is known for civil wars and political instability as well as general strife among its more than 200 ethnic groups. According to the university’s website, Kamina Methodist University is “striving to create a center where emerging Congolese leaders can obtain an affordable world-class education without leaving Congo.” The university currently offers programs of study in information management, theology, psychology and education.
Members of Highland Park United Methodist Church funded the construction of the university’s first dormitory, but scholarship funds are now needed to help fill that dormitory with students. One of Klein’s friends, Lisa Tichenor, brought this need to Klein’s attention last year and Klein said Tichenor challenged her to use her resources to aid others.
Accepting her friend’s challenge, Klein organized a Jan. 22 dinner at Southwestern to raise scholarship funds for Kamina Methodist University. Klein was able to bring the director of KMU, Rev. “Guy” Mande Muyombo, to be the guest speaker for the dinner. Although trained as a civil engineer, Rev. Muyombo said he has pursued ministry and higher education as a way to bring peace to his community. He has earned a master’s degree in peace and good governance and a master’s degree in theology and is currently a doctoral candidate at St. Paul School of Theology in Kansas City.
One of the ways Rev. Muyombo described bringing peace to his community is through the university’s efforts to bring opportunities to people who normally would have been looked over. For example, he said KMU works to educate women of the Congo as well as help former child soldiers get their lives back together and become members of the community. Through donations received so far, the university has been able to increase the number of students it takes on each year from 350 to 540.
Klein said she was amazed to learn that $200 will fund a student’s tuition for a full year at KMU, including their dorm room. Her Jan. 22 fundraiser raised at least $2,500.
“I could not believe how many people came to support us and how generous they were,” she said.
Klein said she does not have any definite plans for future fundraisers, but she is certain that she wants to continue to support KMU. At the Jan. 22 dinner, Rev. Muyombo mentioned the need for a library at the university, and Klein said she found that project very exciting.
“The completion of the dorm was key to being able to continue working toward certification from the DRC government,” she said. “The next step is the library. He (Rev. Muyombo ) said it would cost $25,000 and I have no idea where to start, but I know I’m interested. Education is providing me with all my opportunities. I want to give other people the same chance.”
Anyone interested in making a donation to the university may contact Klein at firstname.lastname@example.org.
− Isaac Bernal