Leja Bulela was founded in 1993 as a reaction to the expulsion of an estimated 500,000 Kasai natives from the Katanga Province of the Democratic Republic of Congo in the early 90s. This forced migration disrupted families and placed a tremendous burden on the provinces inheriting the displaced.
Without adequate healthcare facilities, proper nutrition, and social services, many of the displaced died in transit or upon arrival in Kasai. As such, Leja Bulela's primary focus has been the to support internally displaced persons (refoulés) living in Tshibombo Tshimuangi and the residents of Kasai-Oriental Province with initiatives that promote adequate healthcare, educational opportunities, agricultural opportunities, and a chance at a brighter future.
Leja Bulela is comprised of individuals in the Congolese Disapora living in the United States and Canada. We hold an annual meeting every summer to bring together people from all different backgrounds who are committed to making the world a better place. Everyone is welcome, and everyone is invited!
The phrase "Leja Bulela" means "show that you care" in the Tshiluba language of the Luba people. At the end of the day, that's all we can do for anyone in need--show that we care. The name was coined by Ms. Julie Buatu (Atlanta, GA) in 1994 and has been in use since. Says Ms. Buatu, "We were all frustrated and we didn't know where to start, but we knew we had to do something. The best way to help is to show that you care." The name has been in use ever since.