During London Fashion Week 2017, multi-award winning designer Tina Lobondi celebrated the 1 year anniversary of the social enterprise Esimbi with a fashion show of her new collection, “I have chosen a lot of blue and yellow prints and floating, luxurious fabrics in honour of the colours of Congo.”

The gala welcomed guests across industries, as well as a number of celebrities, and fashionistas including Andy Abraham, Anita Dobson, singer LL, celebrity session hairstylist Vicki Lord, actress Helen Baker, and LDNC. People travelled from Europe and Congo to attend this event at the prestigious One Whitehall Place in London.

Music from DJ efe-J, Henna, a photo-booth, drinks and cupcakes added fun elements to the fundraising event, but Tina’s speech highlighted the seriousness behind the issues in Congo for young people trying to make a life for themselves and away from the crime and street culture. Tina broke down in tears at the support from everyone including those who had provided luxury raffle prizes and goody bag gifts from the guests... Balmain Hair Couture Styling Kit, an Upcycling book from Designer Max McMurdo, Hypnotherapy sessions with Malminder Gill, yoga discount from Laurent Roure, Simply Be You jewellery, Pro Diva Hair straighteners, Dilly and Wolf, Cantu, Orange Rabbit Cakes, and bespoke luxury candles from Pick n Melt.

Tina has raised more funds and awareness for Esimbi, which was set-up primarily to provide vocational training with secured employment (via an Apprenticeship Project and an Apprenticeship Resource Hub) to young adults in the UK and in the Democratic Republic of Congo. This is achieved by collaborating with its alliance charities.

“ESIMBI meaning “it works” in Lingala, one of the languages spoken in the Democratic Republic of Congo... And the best thing about ESIMBI is that ‘it works’ -to help young people work for themselves, allowing them to hold their futures in their own hands. I was fortunate to have a good start and sound education, and this is my main reason for wanting to give the gift of inspiration, empowerment and achievement to as many young people in the Congo and UK as possible... and education is the key to freedom for them.”

Tina Lobondi

The fundraising continues and to find out more go to Esimbi.org, and you can support the social enterprise by buying one of their Limited-Edition candles from Pick n Melt: https://www.picknmelt.com/product/kinshasa-dreams/

Published by Jordan Martin