WD4H Rwanda Youth Leadership Training
By the end of this training, the participants felt connected to each other as the members of one community: the World Dance for Humanity Students. Many thanks to the donors who made this possible, and to WD4H. I hope the photos tell the reality of our appreciations. Without you, the training dream could not become a reality. I am also thankful to my facilitators, Danny, Chantal and Riziki for their hard work ensuring the smooth going of the training. It was life-changing work and that is why we can all celebrate the outcomes. – Justin
VIDEOS FROM THE TRAININGS
See photos below!
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 event was conceptualized by our Rwanda Program Director, Justin Bisengimana, and implemented and documented by Justin, his assistant Dany Rukundo, our WD intern Chantal Kubwimana, and local leader Riziki Mukamanzi. It was generously underwritten by a Santa Barbara Family Foundation, one of whose members is a World Dancer.
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. The gathering gave students from different ethnicities and cultural backgrounds a chance to get to know each other, expand their worldview, and understand the responsibility of doing well in school and bringing back crucial knowledge and skills to their communities.
In the afternoon of December 9th, children from Kungabu, Abakundana, Cokawi, Abadacogora, Joy, Tubeho and Komera Cooperatives met at Justin’s office to board a bus for Kayonza. Before getting their bus, Justin invited each student into his office to talk about their studies and their goals. This gave Justin a chance to learn more about the students so he could fine-tune the training to suit their realities.
Leadership – Before my father died, I thought he was the provider of everything for me and that there was no other alternative for me to live without him. After he died, it was very hard to cope or see any future. I came to realize that it was because I was not prepared. Leadership starts from early age. Our co-op leaders and parents and guardians won’t be there tomorrow. What will happen if the young people are not prepared to take over their responsibilities?
During the training we talked about the special kinds of courage needed for leadership: courage to define current realities within the co-operative, to change the situation they encounter, to establish and enforce values, to build a strong culture, and to lead every day until it is the last day.
We also talked about “Vision” – a picture of the future that creates passion in people. Trainees understood how visions are aborted and killed off quietly without telling anybody about it – what an interesting discussion here
Entrepreneurship – In order to respond to a competitive global labor market, young people are encouraged to have an entrepreneurial mindset to be able to create their own jobs or to upgrade their co-op activities rather than waiting for jobs from others. Students were encouraged to move from sleeping with their logic they learn in schools to imagination and application in order to become creative while putting in action what they learn. Various concepts of entrepreneurship were discussed: the definition of an entrepreneur, the Rwandan job market, ways of identifying opportunities and turning a business idea into a commercial reality, and managing a project.
The students shared their own ideas about entrepreneurship. We focused on the experience of Jeannette Ingabire (Joy Co-op) who had encouraged her schoolmates to start a small project while they are still in school. They collected coins from all the students, and after some time, they were able to buy a pig and a sheep. The pig is now pregnant, and soon they will start getting a return on their investment by selling the babies. This money will be saved for Jeannette’s future business or, if needed, help her pay her school fees. Her story and her entrepreneurial spirit was very inspiring to the others.
Sponsorships – We also talked with the students about where their sponsorship money comes from. They came to understand how much love their sponsors have toward them, and they all committed to working hard so that they will also help other children in the future – as their sponsors have helped them.
A traditional song was sung and danced to honor the World Dancers who sacrifice all they have to make the program move. (A video was taken). They have also danced a song from “Soul Biscuit” band, which was sung to benefit Rwanda. The song was downloaded and projected so that everybody would join.
Lake Visit: One evening after the day session, all students were taken to see the lake. It was such an unforgettable experience for most of them who had never seen a lake – touching the water was a big privilege for them. The fourth day was for a community project: the renovation of a widow’s house which was broken down.
Rebuilding Rose’s House: This project at the end of the Training was incredible and life-changing, but what really moved me and shook my heart most was not the house, but Rose’s feelings that a strong hope and confidence were built in her for the remaining days of her life. To see 93 young people at her dwelling was just enough. Nothing is small any time it is done from deep into our hearts. Rose was that woman who thought she was alone but from now on, she knows she is not alone.