On March 18, 2016 Murindi Women’s Cooperative received two full-grown pregnant cows donated by two World Dance supporters, Ken and Sharon. Ken’s donation was a Christmas gift to his grandchildren, who named their cow “Faith.” Sharon’s donation came from her Soulscape dancers from San Diego, who have now given FOUR cows to our Rwanda communities. Sharon named their cow “May,” which is the middle name of her mother, mother-in-law, daughter, and new baby granddaughter.
Author Archive | janet
Leona was the very first cow for this Co-op in Eastern Rwanda. Donor Arlene Satterlee gave this cow as a Christmas gift to all of her grandchildren, and named it after her Grandmother. Most of Co-op members are women, and they have been dreaming of having a cow for a very long time. “We felt it was a shame not to have a cow while other communities had cows. But we had a dream that one day it would happen. For us, a cow is the symbol of prosperity and peace. We thank you so much our donors for having taken us to this important level in our lives. Our prayers are answered and we hope this is the beginning of our miracles in raising cows.”
Announcing the Grand Opening of “DIGNITY CAFE” The Twirererabana Cooperative in northern Rwanda was founded by a group of unwed mothers who had been rejected by the babies’ fathers and by their own families. They formed a Cooperative in 2013 to help each other survive. They dreamed of becoming farmers and sending their children to […]
Imagine trying to sleep on a thin mat made from papyrus or banana leaves. That’s what 102 mothers in our Rwandan communities do each night. This Mother’s Day, World Dance for Humanity is raising funds to buy mattresses (at $50 each) for these women. Honor the mothers in your life by giving a woman halfway around the world a chance to wake up rested and ready to take on the survival challenges she faces each day.
LET US ALL LIVE The Tubehotwese (“Let Us All Live”) Cooperative in northeastern Rwanda was founded in 2007 by 12 widows and their families determined to survive by pooling their labor and meager resources. With help from World Dance for Humanity, the community has grown to 413 people, and is getting stronger each year. The […]
On April 9, 2016, 18 World Dancers embarked on an inspiring, poignant day together, bringing love and connection to wheel-chair bound seniors and disabled adults in our community. It was a day full of heart and humanity for us all.
Santa Barbara’s Westside Boys & Girls Club serves more than 100 children each day after school. Many of the kids are barely passing their subjects in school, and the Club is trying hard to give them the support they need to turn this around. They are severely short-staffed and need volunteers to work with the children. World Dance for Humanity is stepping up to fill this need by providing after-school volunteers. We’re also opening a window into the world for these children by nurturing a relationship between their Club and Rwanda. For two years, they have been sponsoring Clarisse, one of our Rwandan students. A few weeks ago, we shared a video of Clarisse’s life in her Rwandan village. It was VERY eye-opening for the children, who are making a video about their own lives to share with Clarisse!
This 10-minute video – gleaned from raw footage Justin sent us from Rwanda last week – is the first glimpse we have had into how our students live when they’re at home in their villages. Featuring: Celine (sponsored by Celina Hunt), Peninah (sponsored by Christy Morse), and Clarisse (sponsored by the Westside Boys and Girls Club).
“Well-behaved women rarely make history!” This slogan on Senator Hannah-Beth Jackson’s T-shirt summed up the spirit of activism, connection, and empowerment we all felt on Sunday, when we joined the world in protesting violence against women. We are grateful to the SB Rape Crisis Center for hosting the event, and to Senator Jackson and Assemblymember Das Williams for “Breaking the Chain” with us!
On the morning of January 18th, 20 World Dancers traded their raincoats for jingles, and joined with the community in Santa Barbara’s annual MLK tribute. Below are some impressions of the wonderful experience we shared together. Thank you Tom Spadoro, Grace Spadoro, Jacob Yinger, Rob Hoffman, and Hugh Brown, and Lida Paradisi for the wonderful pics and videos!
Thanks to our dancers and our family of supporters, in 2015 World Dance for Humanity was able to send $91,195 in assistance to Rwanda, provide $4,001 in emergency aid to earthquake victims in Nepal, and reach out to people in need throughout Santa Barbara. A generous grant from one of our dancers covered all of our administrative costs, so that EVERY DOLLAR raised could be used to help the people we serve.
Those of you who were in class Feb. 7th met SADIK KADRIJAJ, a young Albanian man from Kosova (former Yugoslavia) who was the subject of a documentary in the Santa Barbara film festival, “A Single Frame.” In this report, you’ll see how his visit made it possible for three of our Rwandan high school students to attend school in 2016!
Huge thanks to the 10 incredible musicians who gave us the best dance party EVER! We raised $1,037 to buy a full-grown, pregnant cow for the Tubehotwese (“Let Us All Live”) Co-op in Rwanda. It’s the first cow these impoverished farmers have ever had, and will provide milk for the community and manure for their crops. An ecstatic dance night – life changing for the people we serve!
WD4H Board Chair Peter Haslund: “OK, here is the question of the day: How can so many people have so much fun doing so much good and bringing so much joy to so many people who truly benefit from these efforts?”
World Dancer Christy Morse found two 6th grade teachers, Kim Gevirtz and Dave Carter, with the imagination and spirit to embark on a wonderful partnership with a Rwandan school. The children are so excited about the connection! They’re coming up with great ideas about ways to share their stories and their lives – via video, Skype and letters. See their amazing first Skype together…
World Dancer Jackie Pruitt is working with Club Director Priscilla Hernandez on the children’s sponsorship of Clarisse, a Rwandan high school student. Christy Morse also volunteers at the Club most afternoons, helping the kids with basic skills. In October we showed them videos of Rwandan children and they were SO curious about their lives. In November, the children wrote 51 LETTERS to Clarisse! Here are a few letters and photos:
Last weekend, Justin traveled to the Twa (Pygmy) community in Southwest Rwanda. He visited the three beautiful cows donated by All Saints by the Sea, and shared with us a few photos and a few minutes of video from a spontaneous little visit with the children who were keeping Holy Cow company…
The Murindi Cooperative, located just outside of Kigali in central Rwanda, was founded by 40 widows – survivors of the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, who formed a cooperative in 2012 to pool their efforts and resources in order to stay alive. The community has grown to a population of 220. The women have a lively entrepreneurial spirit and want to create a sustainable livelihood by starting a micro-dairy. Last July WD4H raised $3,000 for three cows they need to get the business going through a Causevox online campaign. The cows were delivered on October 27, 2015. Murindi women are so joyous, and so grateful for this incredible gift which gives them the foundation for a sustainable community business.
Many members of our Cooperatives cannot afford their annual health insurance premium of $4.69/year. Each year, World Dance for Humanity makes a donation to cover this cost for the folks in greatest need especially those with AIDS. This year we’re covering this cost for 650 Co-op members, at a total cost of $3,050. We are deeply grateful to World Dancer Jojo Barker and her husband David for covering the cost of this entire program for the year. So far, the health cards for 336 members have been paid for – and they are ECSTATIC about it!
Justin: “No words can express our thanks to Janelle who sponsored this course which has given our Cooperative members knowledge that is critical to their livestock raising and their livelihoods. Lives are going to be transformed as the livestock management evolves, thanks to what the participants have learned. The participants came from all over the country – from Cyangugu [in the southwest by the Burundi/Congo border], from the northeast [on the border with Uganda] and from remote areas in central Rwanda. The connection these people made, and experiences they shared, will be important into their development.”
Generous donations from WD4H supporters Clare, Gayle, Maria Teresa, Peter, Sigrid, Victoria, and our World Dance class fees enabled us to deliver 16 goats to the Komera (Courage) Cooperative this month. We have given a total of 128 goats to this cooperative, so each family now has a goat. This means they have a reliable income source to pay for food, health care, school tuition for the younger children, and other basic necessities. Get to know these women and see what they have to say about this changes in their lives:
In the wake of the deadly Nepal earthquake last April, World Dance for Humanity supporters stepped up to help bring aid to a hard-hit village in the Himalayas through Friends of Himalayan Sherpa People. The organization sent us this report and a thank you for aid we provided.
During the first week of August, 2015, World Dance for Humanity hosted the first in a series of Veterinary Trainings for the Cooperatives we work with in Rwanda. Jane, Komera Cooperative: “Our lives have been so transformed since we connected with our dear dancers and sisters. We are going to set a very good examples in our community. The knowledge we acquire from this training will bring miracles in our livestock. We had a thousand questions but they are all answered and we can simply see the direction in which we are going to take our livestock program for a sustainable development. We can do all this because our friends and donors from WD. So many thanks to them.”
Photos I asked one of our new World Dance interns, Genevieve, to write a few sentences on her experience of last Sunday’s flashmob. This is what she sent. I had to share it. The sun was shining, the music was blaring, the cars were honking, and the people were clapping, but our feet were far […]
The Twiyubake Women’s Cooperative was founded in 2008 as part of the larger Never Again Fellowship in eastern Rwanda. The women have an ambitious entrepreneurial spirit with experience making traditional handcrafts which they sell in the local market. The women came up with a plan to expand their enterprise by producing machine-knitted and sewn apparel. In April 2014, WD4H supporter Kathy Bart sponsored the business, which opened in May of 2015. The women continue to produce their handcrafts, while spearheading the new sewing/knitting business in their community!
Justin: “There are so many reasons for these people to be overjoyed! Everybody who knows the history of the Twa in Rwanda has reason to celebrate! It’s hard to believe these are the same people who had no other choice but hunting, and were living in such poverty. Donors, lives are being transformed because of your big hearts!”
Last Thursday, our evening class had a “field trip” to a Summer Concert in the Park featuring Captain Cardiac and the Coronaries, one of the top 50s & 60s Rock ‘n Roll band. We danced our socks off, to fantastic music, on a beautiful evening. Ah……….
On June 26, 2015, three full-grown, pregnant cows were delivered to the Twa (Pygmy) community we work with in southwestern Rwanda on the border with Burindi. Says Justin, our Rwanda Program Director, “The people were truly overjoyed. If it was possible they would have carried the cows on their backs!”
In April of 2014, the Tubeho co-op in the mountains of central Rwanda received a loan from World Dance to start a bakery. We were thrilled to announce the opening of the business on April 28, 2015 – which will mean new, sustainable livelihood for all. We just received these photos that show the bakery in full swing! What joy!
In the two weeks following the 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal, World Dance for Humanity raised $3,500 to help a group of villages in the Himalayas. The aid is being channeled through World Dancer Celina Hunt and her longtime friends, Deanna Dulen and her husband Wangdowa Sherpa, of Friends of Himalayan Sherpa People (FHSP), a small non-profit based in the Eastern Sierras. Please take a few moments to meet some of the first families we are helping in Nepal.
We had another fabulous time June 13th at our SoulBiscuit dance night at the Creekside! The band was awesome, we had a full house, danced like crazy for 4 hours straight, and made $1,000 for the communities we serve in Rwanda! SoulBiscuit Leader Ed Diamond: “That was possibly the most fun I’ve had in my […]
On Saturday, May 16th, our Rwanda Team delivered 25 goats to the Twirererabana women in their remote village in the mountains above Kigali. This cooperative was founded in 2013 by Oliva, who brought together other unwed mothers to help each other survive. World Dance for Humanity is a solid partner in the development of these […]
On Saturday, May 17th, World Dancers visited elderly and disabled folks in Santa Barbara, bringing SWING music to the seniors and ROCK N’ ROLL to the young adults. As they took our hands, their faces slowly brightened, the music lifted them, and we shared amazing moments of affection and connection.erly and disabled folks in Santa Barbara, bringing SWING music to the seniors and ROCK N’ ROLL to the young adults. As they took our hands, their faces slowly brightened, the music lifted them, and we shared amazing moments of affection and connection.
Can you smell the aroma of warm baked goods wafting from Rwanda? The Tubeho (“Let Us Live”) Cooperative started thinking about building a bakery in 2010, with the only dependable source of baked goods 90 minutes away in Kigali. In April of 2014 they received a loan from a World Dancer to rent a small house to use as a shop, build an oven, purchase materials and equipment, and hire an experienced baker to teach them the trade. On April 28, 2015, the community celebrated the official opening of the bakery!
On April 25th, Nepal was struck by a 7.9 magnitude earthquake that left more than 8,000 people dead and hundreds of communities destroyed. On May 12th, another quake hit the region, 7.3 magnitude, with multiple major aftershocks and many casualties and severe damage. World Dance has a direct connection to a community in the Himalayas, and is raising funds to provide emergency food and shelter to them. The aid is for the families most in need who lost their primary breadwinner during the Langtang avalanche triggered by the earthquake.
“Donors, you are the reason of our joy…” The week before Easter, World Dance raised $10,620 through an online campaign to purchase 236 goats for the Genda Ugire Utyo (“Go and Do That”) Cooperative in Eastern Rwanda. We are so grateful to everyone who took part! On April 24th, the community welcomed their goats, with amazement! They couldn’t believe this miracle had happened in their lives.
“What a joyful time to be sitting in the midst of these animals. This is the time we have been waiting for. This is going to help us keep our name, ‘Those Who Never Give Up.’ We were so hopeless after our first disappointment and we thought things shouldn’t rise up again, but we are ready to move as we are already given strength to help us move. These goats are more than just a walking stick on a slippery way, they are simply our life-changing means.” Martha Mukambonera
WD4H supports 20 cooperatives in far-flung regions of Rwanda. The co-ops are becoming a wonderful resource for each other, offering knowledge and experience they have acquired – about farming, livestock, and co-op management. In April, Abadacogora visited Cokawi to learn about how they take care of their milk goat, and learned many more things!
Every April, the country of Rwanda dedicates a full week to a solemn remembrance of the 1994 Genocide that left 1 million people dead and a country in ruins. The country is now working together for a peaceful, productive future. World Dance for Humanity is honored to be partnering with 20 rural Rwandan communities as they build a new life. See our Remembrance Video in sisterhood with the Rwandan people.
THANK YOU – MURAKOZE! On March 22, 2015, World Dance for Humanity launched its first online campaign. We set a goal to raise $11,970 to buy 266 full-grown, pregnant goats for two Rwandan communities: 236 goats for Genda Ugire Utyo, 30 goats for Twirererabana. Thanks to our supporters around the country, we reached our goal, […]
We had a blast doing this TV spot, rockin’ out on the KEYT patio looking out over all of Santa Barbara and the coastline. It was gorgeous up there – and wonderful working with Meredith, Shirin, and Jennifer on the piece! We send a message inviting Santa Barbara to join World Dance, get involved in our outreach work, and take part in our March 8th State Street “Break the Chain” Flashmob for International Women’s Day.
From Justin: “We thank God that the Twirererabana women finally they have this beautiful, big land. This new land has a house on it which will accommodate one of the members who was homeless. It will be their meeting place while working the land. This land has cow grass planted on its edges and Twirererabana will no longer buy cow grass to feed their cow, Merilyn. Surely, I have never seen Twirererabana members with such a joy. Everything was very new for them this day.”
On February 18, 2015, the Tubehotwese Cooperative in the northeast tip of Rwanda, opened their new kindergarten, funded by World Dancers, Sherry Robin. The Cooperative had been planning this project for several years, as a way to get their young ones ready for grammar school, and as a source of income.
“Am I really the one owning this big goat? It is a great honor in my family that from today onward we are part of livestock owners. We will get money and fertilizer from this goat and our lives are going to be transformed. If you think I am dreaming, visit me after a few months.” Jeannette Uwambaje
1 in 3 women in the world will experience domestic violence or sexual assault during her lifetime. With the planet’s population at 7 billion, this adds up to more than ONE BILLION women and girls. ONE BILLION RISING is a protest against domestic violence that takes place around the world on Feb 14th. World Dance taught the powerful dance, “Break the Chain,” and we danced together on Feb. 14th, reaching out to our sisters in Rwanda, and women around the world, in strength and unity.
Look what we accomplished together! We are so grateful to our growing community of dancers and donors for your support and involvement in 2014! You have made it possible for World Dance for Humanity (WD4H) to bring life-changing assistance to the 20 communities we are serving in Rwanda, and lend a hand here at home.
Justin Bisengimana: “Education is the key to changing the world. I wish words would be enough to express my gratitude toward all contributors to our WD4H 2014 Education Fund. We had no idea how this money could be raised, but you made it happen! You made a way for 132 young people to pursue their dreams. Please try to feel how impactful your sponsorship is in their lives.
“The arc of the universe is long but it bends towards justice.” On Monday, January 19th, World Dancers helped open Santa Barbara’s MLK celebration at De la Guerra Plaza. We brought warm, passionate spirits to the day, sharing our message of service…
Justin: There was no way we could have ever imagined what has happened with this community. They have come out of their isolated world and experienced a sense of real community, of loving and being loved, celebrating and being celebrated. I was so much excited about their dream of coming to Kigali to meet the Cokawi co-op and see what they have achieved. They have done such a huge work together and it was not just taking out weeds but they also expanded their relationships while working together.
With all 2014 donations in, we can now share the final results of our Thriller and year-end fundraising efforts. Our (lofty!) 2014 goal was $35,000 for the Rwanda Education Fund and local charities. (The Thrill for Humanity video below says we raised $23,000. That’s old news!) Thanks to our AMAZING dancers and donors, the final amount raised was…
On December 10, 2014, something extraordinary happened in Rwanda: 93 of the high school and college students sponsored by World Dance for Humanity traveled from all over Rwanda to take part in a life-changing three-day Leadership Training in Kayonza, in the East of the country. The goal of the training was to give the students a sense of purpose and direction as FUTURE LEADERS of their cooperatives, and acquaint them with the notion of ENTREPRENEURSHIP, the potential for creating their own source of income that will benefit their community.
On Saturday, December 6, a group of World Dancers visited wheelchair-bound folks at retirement homes and at a home for disabled adults, performing holiday dances and “dancing” with the residents. As always during our Outreach excursions, it was a penetrating, joyful experience – reaching through silence, stillness, and pain – to love and connection.
On June 25, 2014, seven World Dancers traveled to Rwanda to get to know the 20 communities we are serving there. We recently completed a video of the trip. We hope it will give you a sense of the place, the people, and the role of World Dance for Humanity in their lives.
A group of World Dancers enjoyed a very special opportunity to talk about Rwanda with genocide survivor Frederick Ndabaramiye in a small, intimate setting. He told us his story, and how the horrors he experienced, and his miraculous survival, inspired him to devote his life to helping his fellow Rwandans.
On September 11th, Justin delivered 40 goats (paid for by World Dancers and donors) to new members of the Tubehotwese cooperative in northeast Rwanda who have no land, no livestock, nothing to sustain them. Says Justin: “We are helping poor communities lift themselves out of their extreme poverty with the principle that everyone, no matter which social or economic status, has to own their change process and be responsible of it, this is how what we call ‘inside-out change’ is possible.”
Five of the cooperatives we serve in Rwanda were formed by people with AIDS who banded together to help each other survive. We have been helping each of these groups with livestock and other community support, which now includes healthcare. This summer WD4H sent $1,540 from class proceeds and donations to give 76 families (with 366 family members) access to healthcare.
I just turned 60, and my birthday wish was for help in purchasing a cow and a piece of land for the Twirererabana (“Let Us Raise Our Children”) cooperative in Rwanda. Guess how much we raised!
Together, Goats for Life and World Dance for Humanity have donated 23 full grown, pregnant cows to the communities we are helping in Rwanda. These cows have given birth to a total of 31 calves and are producing milk for the children and fertilizer for the crops.
In April of 2014, a World Dancer and her family made it possible for our Twa community to start a sewing business. When we visited the group in June, eight treadle sewing machines had just arrived. The members were so excited, and so proud to be embarking on business to sustain their community!
On July 8, 2014, seven World Dancers traveled to the mountains north of Kigali to visit the Abishyizehamwe Cooperative and get to know their community. We timed it to be there for the delivery of 30 goats, paid for during the Spring by World Dancers and supporters. It was a bit wild and totally great to be part of this!