Costa - from refugee to Australian advocate!
Husband, father, grandfather, pastor, Congolese leader, President of AusCongo Network, Constantin (Costa) Bengankuna Mukendi is a man with an amazing dream to build the social and economic wealth of Congolese in Brisbane, in the DR Congo and wherever his people live across Australia, Africa and indeed, the world.
Costa's memoir, I Could Have Been a Street Kid, is a heart-warming and heart-wrenching tale of resilience, faith, survival, family and love. It is his journey from orphan to refugee to Australian citizen and giver of hope to his people. This book is Constantin's gift and legacy, a bridge for the next generation, not only of his extended African family but all those who are struggling with life.
In 1993, Costa fled a bloody civil war in Congo and spent the next eleven years in a refugee camp in Zambia helping other refugees at the camp and helping his wife and children escape his war-ravaged homeland.
In 2003, he applied successfully to the United Nations High Commission for Refugees for himself and his family to be re-settled in Australia. Since then, Costa has become a strong and active leader amongst his new community founding two not-for-profit groups: the New Life Community Baptist Church and the AusCongo Network Inc. Through these organisations, Costa has worked tirelessly to assist other Congolese individuals and families settle into South East Queensland as well as helping other Australians to learn and celebrate the vibrant culture of the people of the DR Congo. The AusCongo Network runs a Community Development Centre in Mbuji-Mayi where hundreds of local community members are supported in generating a livelihood with the broader impact of stimulating the local economy.
"I want to bless those who helped me grow by helping them to help themselves. Teaching them to fish instead of sending those fish."~ Costa
Costa loves serving the Congolese people through church and the AusCongo Network Inc. He provides services in assisting refugees to settle in Australia such as orientation, life skills, linguistics and social support. He has been awarded various accodales including:
2011: Certificate of Appreciation from Self Help Queensland
2011: WRA Unsung Hero Award from World Relief Australia
2012: Community Service Award from Graham Perrett MP, Member for Moreton
2016: Ambassador for Peace from Universal Peace Federation
In 2011 Costa was proud to have the opportunity to present the work of the AusCongo Network to the then Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard via the introduction of Graham Perrett MP. Costa holds a Bachelor of Arts (English Language and Literature) and a Post-Graduate Degree in Education.
Pick up a copy of Costa's book here
To contact Costa:
Mobile - 0431 270 961
Website - www.constantinmukendi.com