A couple of weeks ago, we reached out to the Brookline community to ask for your help to support the Mandes, a 21-person family from the Democratic Republic of Congo that has become a true American and Brookline immigrant success story. As of November 11, 108 donors have pitched in $9,471 to support the Mande’s in their time of need. It is not too late to help this inspiring family and its courageous leader and matriarch, Elizabeth Mande.

Earlier this year, most of the Mande family were stricken by the coronavirus. Parents Elizabeth and Boniface each spent long stretches in the ICU. All of the Mande’s thankfully survived. But the economic impact of the pandemic on the Mande family has been devasting.

Despite an ailing back, Elizabeth went back to her two jobs, one of them in the nursing home where she first contracted the virus. Boniface, severely affected by his battle with COVID, is still not able to work.

Elizabeth Mande came to the United States as a refugee from the war-torn African nation in 1998. Before she could find the resources to bring her husband, Boniface Mande, and their ten children, Cathy, Madeleine, Achilene, Yannick, Nancy, Jeansmine, Geraldine, Jonathan, Merveille, and Michee (oldest to youngest.) to this country, Elizabeth endured three years of homelessness, fighting for survival on the streets of Boston.

Elizabeth’s goal was to forge a path in her new country for her family, including nine grandchildren and two adopted children. With the daily help and friendship of Paul and Saskia Epstein and others, the Mande’s have succeeded, and on the way, have become an inspiration to many in the Brookline community.

In 2019, Elizabeth and Boniface were the recipients of the 2019 Brookline Youth Awards Suriel Guerrero Parent of the Year award for their courage, humanity, and dedication to young people.

The story of the Mande family is part of the great story of America. Immigrants and refugees of oppression from far-off lands, along with African-Americans and others, who endured systematic violence and cruelty within our borders, succeeding in this country, overcoming tremendous hardships every step of the way.

The struggles continue in our country on many levels. The impact of the coronavirus is felt the hardest by our most vulnerable populations.

In Brookline, we have been enriched, witnessing the Mande’s overcome their struggles armed with relentless ambition and the fundamental belief in their own self-worth or the goodness inherent in others.

We thank you from the bottom of our hearts for all those who have reached out with donations and kind words of encouragement for the Mandes. Please spread the word to others who may want to contribute to this worthy cause. It is not too late to support the Mandes.

Support the Mande Family Go-Fund-Me

Harvey Bravman and Paul Epstein