2017 Year in Review

Umunezero women landscape - Stanley

2017 ~ Year in Review

by Janet Reineck, PhD, Executive Director

“In our world as it is right now, I am heartened to know that we are having such a profound impact on the lives of people who, not long ago, had no hope for the future. I love that we do heart-to-heart work. Essentially it’s all about love, care, and connection.” ~ Juanita Johnson, World Dancer

In 2017, the World Dance community celebrated together, stood up for justice, supported each other, helped out here at home, and brought critical resources and abundant love to 9,021 people in 25 Rwandan communities struggling to improve their lives. We are grateful to everyone who came to a class, participated in an event, or made a donation…and helped us make a difference in the world.

Thanks to class fees, donations, and Thriller sponsorships, in 2017 we were able to contribute $180,102 in aid to Rwanda, providing our co-ops with:

  • 12 cows and 281 goats
  • Support for 7 community-run businesses
  • Training in agriculture, leadership, and business
  • Student sponsorships enabling 147 young people to attend school
  • Community support: health insurance for 910 people, 120 mattresses, support for 25 orphans, and 4 teacher salaries for our nursery school

Incredible things are happening in the communities we serve. CLICK HERE to see all videos, photos, and stories from our work. Here is the year in pictures:

EDUCATION

Our student sponsors, donors, and the Thriller event made it possible for 11 primary, 99 secondary, and 37 college students to attend school in 2017.

Every student has a sponsor - here is Genevieve with her arms around her student, Winy.

Every student has a sponsor – here is Genevieve with her arms around her student, Winy.

Our sponsors exchange letters several times a year with their students. This is Alphonse with a cherished letter from his sponsor, Jojo.

Our sponsors exchange letters several times a year with their students. This is Alphonse with a cherished letter from his sponsor, Jojo.

Justin and Janet look on as the students work on the "Impact Assessment" that the co-ops developed to measure the change taking place in their lives.

Justin and Janet look on as the students work on the “Impact Assessment” that the co-ops developed to measure the changes taking place in their lives.

AGRICULTURE

Our Permagarden Training led by Thomas Cole in November is yielding amazing results and changing the way these communities farm!

Our Permagarden Training led by Thomas Cole in November is yielding amazing results and changing the way these communities farm!

We provided 12 full-grown, pregnant cows in 2017 which were all delivered in 2018 after a six-month quarantine on the transport of livestock. Meet “Angel,” above, donated by All Saints by the Sea in Montecito.

! Itorero goats group

We funded goats for 281 families – in Abakundana, Copakika, Ejo Habo, Good Family, and Itorero Co-ops. Each goat will be cherished and raised like a member of the family.

Ejo Habo - Ellen Pig Farm feed

The orphans at Ejo Habo are now raising pigs – 2 expectant moms and dad. The pig shed was paid for by one of our donors who named it after her mother, Ellen.

COMMUNITY SUPPORT

We gave mattresses to 120 families at Copakika, Komera, and Umunezero Co-ops. Having slept on the ground their entire lives, it's finally their turn to enjoy a good night's sleep!

We gave mattresses to 120 families at Copakika, Komera, and Umunezero Co-ops. Having slept on the ground their entire lives, it’s finally their turn to enjoy a good night’s sleep!

We helped 4 of our co-ops start a Reusable Menstrual Pad Business to provide a crucial resource for women and girls in our co-ops and beyond.

We helped 4 of our co-ops start a Reusable Menstrual Pad Business to provide a crucial resource for women and girls in our co-ops and beyond.

Donations from Jojo and Annetta made it possible for 910 people to access health care who could not afford it on their own.

Donations from Jojo and Annetta made it possible for 910 people to access health care who could not afford it on their own.

Our donation to Umunezero enabled the community to build a house for a blind couple and their children.

Our donation to Umunezero enabled the community to build a house for a blind couple and their nine children.

Juanita and Hymon continued their support for the 4 teachers at our Tubehotwese Nursery School, attended by 250 children ages 3 to 7.

Juanita and Hymon continued their support for the 4 teachers at our Tubehotwese Nursery School, attended by 250 children ages 3 to 7.

COMMUNITY-RUN BUSINESSES

P&G Alumni Logo - use with logo text

Our deepest thanks to the Procter & Gamble Alumni Foundation for a generous grant that enabled us to: hire a Business Coordinator, offer a 3-day Business Training, and launch or expand 3 businesses:
 Judy, our BUSINESS COORDINATOR, looking over the books with a co-op leader.

Judy, our BUSINESS COORDINATOR, looking over the books with a co-op leader.

In May we held our annual BUSINESS TRAINING in Kigali for 60 co-op leaders, giving them the basic tools they need to run their fledgling enterprises.

In May we held our annual BUSINESS TRAINING in Kigali for 60 co-op leaders, giving them the basic tools they need to run their fledgling enterprises.

Ruganeheza is thrilled about their VENTILATION BRICK BUSINESS, which is already the go-to supplier in their region for something everyone uses for their houses!

Ruganeheza is thrilled about their VENTILATION BRICK BUSINESS, which is already the go-to supplier in their region for something everyone uses for their houses!

Genda Ugire Utyo launched an EVENT RENTAL BUSINESS, which offers decorations, supplies, and a sound system for weddings, baptisms, funerals, and meetings.

Genda Ugire Utyo launched an EVENT RENTAL BUSINESS, which offers decorations, supplies, and a sound system for weddings, baptisms, funerals, and meetings.

Abaharaniramahoro upgraded their existing EVENT RENTAL BUSINESS, which, like Genda's business, is now going strong!

Abaharaniramahoro upgraded their existing EVENT RENTAL BUSINESS, which, like Genda’s business, is now going strong!

Donations from our dancers and donors helped launch these businesses:

RUGANEHEZA'S WATER BUSINESS is well established now, serving the co-ops members and all their neighbors with a priceless resource: clean water.

RUGANEHEZA’S WATER BUSINESS is well established now, serving the co-ops members and all their neighbors with a priceless resource: clean water.

ABISHYIZEHAMWE'S BAKERY is also very successful, providing baked goods 7 days a week to their neighbors and the local school, clinic, and district office.

ABISHYIZEHAMWE’S BAKERY is also very successful, providing baked goods 7 days a week to their neighbors and the local school, clinic, and district office.

 Our KUNGABU FISH FOOD MACHINE was built in China, shipped to Tanzania, and brought overland to Rwanda. It is now fully operational, producing food for the Tilapia fish farm. It's the first machine of its kind in the country!

Our KUNGABU FISH FOOD MACHINE was built in China, shipped to Tanzania, and brought overland to Rwanda. It is now fully operational, producing food for the Tilapia fish farm. It’s the first machine of its kind in the country!

 

Local Activities & Outreach

Dance Outreach to wheelchair-bound seniors and disabled adults

World Dance Outreach to wheelchair-bound seniors and disabled adults

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Martin Luther King, Jr. Remembrance Day

! ! christy kate jackie & kids c

Jackie and Christy lead our volunteer program at the Westside Boys & Girls Club, where World Dancers offer homework help to children in the Club’s after-school program which serves 80 disadvantaged children each weekday.

Volleyball Tournament for Rwandan student, Valens, sponsored by the SBCC Ambassadors who funded his college education for a year

Volleyball Tournament for Rwandan student, Valens, sponsored by the SBCC Ambassadors who funded his college education for a year.

Earth Day - Our sustainable solution: Reusable Menstrual Pads for Rwanda. Period.

Earth Day – Our sustainable solution: Reusable Menstrual Pads for Rwanda. Period.

Janet receives the "Spirit of Entrepreneurship" award.

Janet receives the “Spirit of Entrepreneurship” award.

"Break the Chain" at the Summer Solstice Parade, dedicated to the memory of our friend and activist extraordinaire, Nancy Koppelman

“Break the Chain” at the Summer Solstice Parade, dedicated to the memory of our friend and activist extraordinaire, Nancy Koppelman

 THRILLER 2017 250 dancers, 36 flashmobs, $26,000 raised for our Rwanda Education Fund!

THRILLER 2017 – 250 dancers, 36 flashmobs, $26,000 raised for our Rwanda Education Fund!

! 1 Tirta Ganga 1 group

World Dance Retreat, January 2017 – Bloo Lagoon, Bali.

In fond remembrance…

World Dancer Denise Cohen Our World Dance community was deeply saddened by the passing of Denise Cohen, one of our dancers who was among the victims of the tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas in October. Denise, thank you for gracing World Dance with your bright smile, vibrant spirit, and kind, caring soul. We'll be dancing for you always.

World Dancer Denise Cohen
Our World Dance community was deeply saddened by the passing of Denise Cohen, one of our dancers who was among the victims of the tragic mass shooting in Las Vegas in October. Denise, thank you for gracing World Dance with your bright smile, vibrant spirit, and kind, caring soul. We’ll be dancing for you always.

Tubehotwese President Naome Nyiraneza We mourn the passing of Naome, leader of the Tubehotwese ("Let Us All Live") Cooperative. We know her as a woman of great passion and vision who helped her community develop unity and purpose, and begin their journey out of poverty.

Tubehotwese President Naome Nyiraneza
We mourn the passing of Naome, leader of the Tubehotwese (“Let Us All Live”) Cooperative. We know her as a woman of great passion and vision who helped her community develop unity and purpose, and begin their journey out of poverty.

TESTIMONIALS

From Dancers & Supporters

Melitta Haslund: “World Dance for Humanity is good for the body, the soul, and the world. We dance because we love it. We dance because, in doing so, we are helping the Rwandan people make their way back to the rhythm of their own lives. We dance in solidarity with those who have lost their step. We dance because the meaning of our lives are intertwined with the people of the world.”

Laura DeHaven: “Thank you so much for the warm welcome, for offering this opportunity to dance and benefit the projects in Rwanda. This class is one of the best parts of my life. I always look forward to coming to class and find it soulful, uplifting, joyous and fun. All parts of me are so happy to be involved with World Dance for Humanity!”

Marc Van Strydonck: “Since our chance meeting in Rwanda four years ago, I have followed and been amazed by the work WD4H has accomplished helping people going from being completely destitute…to men, women and children filled with hope and better futures. Your work is inspiring and shows that the universal language of dance combined with the generosity and commitment of your group can achieve wonders. It is a privilege to witness your achievements from afar.”

Olga Herrera Pinal: “I first came to World Dance to experience dancing from different cultures. I got what I asked for and MORE. I was invited to go with Janet and 10 others to Rwanda…WOW! I experienced people with open arms and hearts, visual beauty, music…that would burn in my heart forever. I am so grateful to be among women who share the same direction for humanity. Janet has created a ripple in the pond and it radiates out into the world.”

Debra Geiger (WD4H Board President): “We celebrate all people and support all neighbors in need, regardless of their address. As Michelle Obama says, ‘You may not always have a comfortable life and you will not be able to solve all of the world’s problems at once, but don’t ever underestimate the importance you can have. History has shown us that courage can be contagious and hope can take on a life of its own.'”

Peter Haslund: “World Dance is worth the effort for a simple reason: it works. It affects real people in a significant way, and it bears witness to the fact that despite all the ‘noise,’ we all live on the same small planet and we need to help each other.”

Starr Siegele: “Good courage on our mutual quest to make better lives in Rwanda. Larry and I understand your mission & all the difficulties imposed in East Africa. We are gratified knowing World Dance can meet its goal for education. This is building hope for the future in Rwanda, in East Africa: New fresh voices, educated, intelligent with power for change in their world – and ours.”

Michelle Pasini: “I am so impressed by the selection of beautiful music, the variety of dance styles, and mixture of balance and grateful meditation at the end of class. Classes are so rejuvenating. We benefit from Janet’s lifetime of dance study and her warm, unbridled enthusiasm for everything she does and expressed to everyone who walks through that door. I came for the exercise, returned for the community, and was compelled by the cause!”

Sharon Kearin and the San Diego World Dancers: “We are all so proud to be a part of such a wonderful organization that helps so many women. Our breath connects us all to you and to the women in Rwanda and our dance is the language we use to offer up our love and care and concern for others. Let our Friday morning Dance Parties begin again – we’ll be raising funds for our 6th cow!”

Annetta Patrick: “World Dance for Humanity is unique because it offers so much more than just dance instruction. It is an exercise class, it is a local community outreach support, it is the means of sustenance for 9,000+ Rwandans, it is a sisterhood of like-minded women, it fuels our hearts and our minds. We give, but what we get in return is immeasurable. There is nothing else like it!”

Pamela Albert: “In my short time here in Santa Barbara I feel so blessed to have found a group of women who are passionate about giving back to the community and world. Not only does WD4H give locally but they help families abroad in ways that are uplifting and profoundly life changing. I joined WD4H to learn and dance to Thriller and ended up with a wonderful group of friends dedicated to helping others. Wow!”

From the Rwanda Team

Justin Bisengimana: “I am so lucky to work with World Dance for Humanity! You are people who go beyond material donations by giving of yourselves. Thank you for sacrificing your time, energy, talents and resources, and serving the communities so wholeheartedly. It’s all about heart, and being passionate about the work. Our 4 years working together have been filled with joy. What you are doing in this broken-hearted country speaks for itself. You have given the communities a story of hope to tell, and a voice with which to tell their story.”

Chantal Kubwimana: “I just want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart for all you do. I appreciate how you are powerful women, patient, helping poverty peoples from survival to the better health. Thank you again for giving to the people in need without expecting any return. We love you!”

Dany Rukundo: “Today after looking at photos, videos, reports of three years working with you, my head is up, thinking about WD4H, Janet, Justin and our community. Thanks Justin who was the first to speak out for those who are not able. Thanks Janet to be there as spokeswoman and one who testify all above I am saying. Thanks WD4H for supporting our people. Onward! Biracyaza!”

Judy Rwibutso: “It has inspired me to see how people with bitter backgrounds such as prostitutes, widows, Genocide survivors and unwed mothers could be able to bring themselves together despite their difficult circumstances. The cooperatives are growing day by day, and so is their standard of living, self-reliance, critical thinking, and empowerment. Seeing this happen, I know my contribution is not in vain.”

From our Beneficiaries

Ancilla: “Generous donors brought us joy and hope and goats, which bring us life. Our dreams are becoming a reality because of our World Dance sisters. There is nothing we can compare with you, as you brought us this support, emotional and tangible.”

Venantie: “I remember when I was given a mattress, I felt I was not on the earth. My life is no longer the same because of that mattress. You can imagine what’s gonna happen for me to own a goat of such a significant importance in my life. I feel I will die of joy. These people will walk with us to find solutions to our extreme poverty. Thank you so much, friends.”

Beatrice: “These are the fruits from our relationship with our sisters from U.S. that will lead us into a sustainable future. You can see how far they have already taken us. Together, our lives won’t be the same and we are already changing. We love you so much.”

Stephanie: “I know what this goat is going to do for my family. I have a million reasons to hold her with utmost care. Through this goat, dreams to become self-sustaining will become a reality. We were people who thought no one cared about us. Thank you so much, donors. You truly mean so much in our development.”

Josianne: “I wish I was able to pour out all I have in my heart and share it with our donors. This is how they will really understand what each one of us is trying to say. My emotions don’t allow me to fully express my gratitude and thanks to our generous donors.”

Jeaninne: “Our donors have done something we never thought would happen. We thank you so much and we promise you that we are going to do our best to turn this into something sustainable and we will make it all the way.”