She has also formed a band here locally with other talented Congolese musicians—The Matrida Umoja Band. Their lovely, joyful music, sung in Swahili, English, and other African languages, gets audiences up on their feet to dance, laugh, sing, and enjoy beautiful “umoja” (unity) together.
Matrida plans to use her musical gifts to lead a fundraising effort to support her family and friends who that have been left behind in the Nyarugusu camp, including a group of 120 orphans and 80 widows. In that regard, she’s like many of the refugee and immigrant women helped by WE in San Diego, as concerned with supporting those she left behind as with building a new life here, for her and her family.
In addition to WE’s partnership with IRC, WE works with partners in Tijuana, Honduras, Haiti and Uganda to help vulnerable low income women start small businesses. These businesses allow women to send their children to school, provide basic health care, and put food on the table. The businesses instill in women a new sense of self-worth, raising their status in the family and in the community, and reducing instances of domestic abuse and violence.
Whether in the U.S. or outside of it, all these women share a common trait: They persist, no matter what obstacles are thrown in their path. They remain undefeated, and therefore so do we, persistently striving to insure full economic and social inclusion for marginalized populations.
To learn more about Women’s Empowerment International, visit www.womenempowerment.org. Please join us to hear Matrida’s uplifting story, and the joyous, irrepressible music of Matrida and the First UU of San Diego Women’s Chorus. For assistance with tickets or a ride to the concert, please contact Chris Smith at (619) 300-7477. Tickets for the concert ($15 in advance, $20 at the door), can be purchased Sundays on the patio through May 13 or any time online at https://firstuusandiego.org/womens-choir.