In November, asked the community to rally around the Mandes, a 12-person family from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) that have become a true American and Brookline immigrant success story. As of today, 159 donors have donated $15,250, reaching the set goal of $15,000 to support the Mandes during their time of need. Elizabeth and Boniface, the courageous and inspiring parents of the Mande clan, with help from their son Jonathan and Danielle Myers, Hub writer and a video/graphics editor for “Soul Witness” and “Brookline Facing Civil Rights”, released a video to thank the community for its outpouring of support.

The Inspiring Story of the Mandes

Elizabeth Mande came to the United States as a refugee from the war-torn DRC 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, which now includes nine grandchildren and two adopted children. With Paul and Saskia Epstein and others’ daily help and friendship, the Mandes have succeeded, and on the way, have become an inspiration to many in the Brookline community.

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 Mandes thankfully survived. 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 is suffering from several debilitating conditions associated with his battle to fight off the virus, as he is still not able to work. But the economic, physical, and emotional impact of the pandemic on the Mande family has been devasting.

Elizabeth’s fight for survival for her and her family are chronicled in this video produced to celebrate Elizabeth and Boniface as recipients of the 2019 Brookline Youth Awards Suriel Guerrero Parent of the Year award.

The Mande’s have been flooded with appreciation for the outpouring of support. Jon Mande on his father’s reaction to the GoFundMe campaign, “When I first told my father about people’s generosity, he cried. I’ve never seen my father cry. So, I can only imagine what his expression will be when he finds out that we hit our goal — all thanks to our community!”

Jon Mande and Danielle Myers produced this video when Elizabeth and Boniface expressed their desire to thank the public for its support.

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 impacts of the coronavirus are felt the hardest by our most vulnerable populations.

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

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