In 2008, 30 impoverished Rwandan families founded the Kungabu Cooperative near Lake Kivu, envisioning a collective enterprise that would sustain all of the members: the farming of Tilapia fish. We began our assistance to the Kungabu in 2013 by donating cows, helping the young people go to school, and offering training in agriculture, co-op management, and business. We learned that in order to grow the Tilapia big enough to sell commercially, they needed expensive fish food pellets that could only be acquired in Uganda. But no machines of this kind were available for purchase in Africa. Our only viable option was to have the machine built in China and shipped to Rwanda via Tanzania. Thus began the odyssey of the Fish Food machine.
Carpinteria’s Crafty Ladies were busy again last spring producing REUSABLE MENSTRUAL PAD KITS for the women in our cooperatives. The kits were made with loving care and hand-carried by Festo and Odile, Rwandan students attending Westmont College here in Santa Barbara.The kits were distributed by our Rwanda Team to three of our Cooperatives which are all part of Never Again Fellowship:
Critical to the success of our community-run businesses in Rwanda is the three-day Business Training we host each spring. This year’s Training was sponsored by Proctor and Gamble Alumni Foundation through Betsy Stivers, a P&G alumna, engineer, World Dancer, and the Chair of our Business Committee. Sixty co-op leaders from across the country attended the three-day training held in Kigali. The experience has a profound impact on all the participants. After completing the course, the participants returned to their communities with new knowledge and skills that will help their businesses grow and their communities develop. The Training also deepened the bond between the co-op members, our Rwanda team, and World Dance for Humanity. It is this bond which is giving them the confidence to build a future with high aspirations and the tools to achieve them.
The people we support in Rwanda endured unimaginable suffering and hardship during the Genocide and in its aftermath. They overcame fear, isolation, and hopelessness by joining a cooperative and working with their fellow co-op members to stay alive. It is such a privilege to be working with these incredibly courageous human beings. Thank you for helping us give them the chance to rebuild their lives. Here are six of their stories.
“It was so amazing to see how all the students participated at the training. They shared so many ideas and asked such important questions. We could see that they are already leaders, already applying their leadership skills into their lives.” Justin Bisengimana
Just before the holidays we delivered mattresses to our co-ops which were purchased with donation from World Dance for Humanity. Many of the co-op members have never owned or even slept on a mattress, and some of them are in their 70s. We hope the photos and video can tell you how life-changing this was for them.
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!
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.
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.
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.
It’s not too late to get a goat for your favorite Mom! $45 buys a goat that will change a family’s life in a simple, sustainable, meaningful way. Juanita will send a beautiful card to the mothers on your list!
On Tuesday, April 21st, World Dance sent start-up funds for the first 4 of 14 businesses being launched by the communities we serve in Rwanda.
From Justin: At Joy (Umunezero), Courage (Komera), and Let Us Live (Tubeho) cooperatives, we have been busy distributing letters from Sponsors to their students. This is a huge emotional support to these children. It gives hope for them that somebody faraway cares about them. Sponsors’ letters and photos are creating such moving memories in the […]