“Our generous and life-changing sisters, I wish I could be with you right now to express gratitude for the blessings I have because of you. Because of you, I am not growing older but growing younger; you keep me strong all the time. You brought back my hope and happiness. Now I have you as my sisters, and a strong foundation for my children and grandchildren. I meet with you in my heart anytime 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 since you started helping us.” – Mary Kanzayire, WD4H Beneficiary – Twiyubake Cooperative
In December of 2011, World Dance partnered with Goats for Life, a Santa Barbara-based nonprofit that had been working since 2007 to help Rwandans stay alive in the aftermath of the Genocide through gifts of goats and cows. In the spring of 2013, GFL’s Founder Betsy Kain retired and World Dance for Humanity took on her legacy and commitment to serve these communities. Since then, WD4H has become deeply involved with the communities, helping them survive, sustain, and build new lives.
We are currently working with 8,400 people in 25 rural communities, providing donations of livestock (goats, cows, and chickens), student stipends, training (in agriculture, leadership, and business) and support to help each community create a sustainable business enterprise. The projects are envisioned, planned, and managed by the co-op members themselves, with the support of WD4H and our Rwanda Team. The cooperatives have full responsibilities for their projects – they own their transformation. In this way, they are lifting themselves out of poverty.
Thanks to the generous support of our dancers and donors, in 2016 we were able to send $123,986 in aid to Rwanda, giving the people we work with the means to improve their lives. We have seen tremendous changes, as the communities begin to believe in the future and work for a sustainable livelihood. We are so grateful to our Rwanda Team – Program Director Justin Bisengimana, Program Assistant Dany Rukundo, Business Coordinator Judy Rwibutso, and Education Coordinator Chantal Kubwimana – for implementing our programs with complete selflessness and extraordinary dedication. Since 2013, we have provided the communities with:
- Annual student stipends for 150 students (primary school, secondary school, and college)
- 672 goats, 37 full-grown pregnant cows, and 100 chickens
- Six parcels of farmland
- Training in business, agriculture, leadership, and community management
- Funding for two sewing businesses, two bakeries, a café, a fish farming project, and a nursery school
- Health insurance for 600 people each year who can’t afford the $4 annual fee
- Mattresses for people sleeping on the ground; solar lights for people with no electricity