“I have been watching people die of hunger and suffer the effects of poverty in rural Rwanda for many years. It is well known that the best way to keep people alive in our country, and help them develop a simple but sustainable livelihood, is through livestock. Thanks first to Goats for Life, and now to World Dance for Humanity, the people in the communities we serve no longer die of hunger. They are self-sufficient and on their way to a better life. We are now giving stipends so the children can go to school and helping them develop sustainable businesses – which are both key to the future of these people.” Justin Bisengimana, Project Director, Rwanda
In December of 2011, World Dance partnered with Santa Barbara-based Goats for Life, a nonprofit that had been working since 2007 to help sustain several government sanctioned cooperatives struggling to stay alive in post-genocide Rwanda through gifts of livestock. In the spring of 2013 GFL Betsy Kain retired, and World Dance for Humanity took on her legacy and her commitment to these communities. Since then, we have become very involved with the communities there and committed to helping them survive…and THRIVE.
We are currently serving 20 COOPERATIVES organized by people pooling their labor and meager resources to stay alive and build a future for themselves and their children. We provide goats, cows, the means to send children to school, and assistance with income generation projects.
Thanks the generous supports of our dancers and donors in 2014, we were able to send $89,666 in aid to our Rwandan communities, giving 10,000 people the means to improve their lives. We have seen a real shift in the mindset in these communities, as families begin to believe in the future, and work for a sustainable livelihood. We are so grateful to our Rwanda Team, Rwanda Justin Bisengimana, Assistant Dany Rukundo, and Field Intern Chantal Kubwimana, for implementing our programs with selfless, loving dedication.
- Livestock: 641 goats, 5 milk goats, 15 cows, 11 calves
- Education: 118 students sponsored in 2014; 132 sponsored in 2015 (this includes primary school, high school and college stipends)
- Training: Business, agriculture, and leadership training for our co-op members
- Businesses: 5 businesses (2 sewing businesses, a bakery, a nursery school, a marshland to farmland project) and 4 parcels of farmland
- Community Support: 250 solar lights, 45 mattresses, 1,016 health cards, canvas to protect crops, and emergency assistance
“Last January, I visited a cooperative we work with in Rwanda made up of women who survived the genocide in their country. Ten of the women could not get off their mats to greet us because they were so malnourished. Most of these women have AIDS due to the genocide rapes. If they are not well nourished, they are vulnerable to other rampant illnesses such as malaria and typhus. Right after this meeting, Justin found a milking cow which we were able to deliver quickly to the group. When I returned in June and went out to meet with them again, those ten women were dancing and healthy. It’s magical how quickly the cow’s milk can restore people’s health and vitality.” Betsy Kain
Our Project Coordinator in Rwanda is Justin Bisengimana, a Rwandan deeply devoted to the work Betsy began and World Dance is continuing. He has gained the trust of the communities we serve and has the compassion, gentle ways, leadership skills and project management savvy needed to guide the program.
Click below to read some of Justin’s extraordinary reports that have brought us so close to the people we are serving:
- Meet members of Never Again Fellowship 7-20-12
- Justin’s report on Never Again Fellowship 8-9-12
- Greetings to World Dance from Imbereheza group 9-7-12
- From World Dancers to Never Again 9-23-12
- Delivering music instruments to Never Again 2-14-13
- Goats to the Twa (Abakundanu) cooperative 4-5-13
- Milk goats to Joy & Their Tomorrow co-ops April 2013
24 goats to Tubehotwese 8-1-13
53 Goats to Tubehotwese 9-27-13
Meet members of the communities we are serving
“Our generous and life-changing sisters, I wish I would be with you right now to express to you gratitude and blessings I have because of you. I would make a huge hug of love to you. Because of you, I am not growing older but I am growing younger; you keep me strong all the time. You brought back my hope and happiness and now I have you as my sisters and daughters. You are preparing a strong foundation for my children and grandchildren. I have not met you but I heard about you and saw your photos and I always meet with you in my heart any time I think of what you are doing for us. My heart is connected to yours and I can feel it. My life is no longer the same – things have changed since you started supporting us. I don’t have any return to you, except praying for your courage, protection and success in all you do.” Mary Kanzayire
“A goat you see me holding is the answer of my wish to belong to the community of change, well-beings, hope and respect in all ways, this goat will soon take me there. I am so much appreciative to our donors.” Margaritha
“I cannot wait to tell my friends about this goat. Some of them used to put me to shame that my father doesn’t have livestock like theirs but things will no longer be the same. This evening I will bring this goat to graze with theirs and they will see that things have changed in my family.” Jean Marie
”I am holding a brighter future of me and my family and it’s what you can see here. A goat is going to be the bringer of the change in my family. We live on doing agriculture in a poor way, this goat will positively impact our production and it will provide us with financial necessities while having offspring from it. There is no way to thank donors to make this happen for us. God bless them.” Catherine
“These are not just goats, they are so meaningful to us, we used to keep livestock before genocide but genocide has taken everything away including our hope to keep livestock again, we did not even have hope for our future but because of you and your support, we have our livestock back and we have a living hope for our brighter future. We thank you to infinity and beyond and I think we cannot thank you enough and we cannot talk about your kindness enough but what you are doing can speak more of it; our thanks will always be expressed by the tangible actions you are doing for us.” God bless you! Gratia, a genocide survivor.
Dear our sisters, we greet you, have divine peace. We are happy to write to you, thanking you for different ways with which we support and care about us, Helping us come out of poverty by giving us cows and goats, so that we can get fertilizer, We can give milk to our children and you are significantly contributing to our modern farming. We end our letter, wishing you God’s peace and protection.