World Dance for Humanity is a Santa Barbara-based nonprofit that brings together the best of dance and music from around the world to inspire local women while helping people in need—here at home and in distant lands. Our model is unique and impactful: every dollar we raise from classes and donations goes to underserved communities where a small amount of money goes a long way, and where we can develop deep connections to the people we serve.
Founded in the spring of 2010, through the years WD4H has supported grassroots projects in Guatemala, Nepal, Kenya, Uganda, Ghana and Liberia. In 2013 we turned our focus to RWANDA—a small, East African country still suffering the effects of the 1994 genocide. We inherited the projects begun by Goats for Life, a Santa Barbara-based group that had been working in Rwanda for six years. We are currently helping 9,021 people in 25 rural cooperatives lift themselves out of extreme poverty through donations of livestock, stipends for students, training in agriculture, business, and leadership, and seed money for community-run businesses. Our program is small-scale, personal, and highly effective. We are witnessing an extraordinary transformation in the people we’re working with as they acquire the resources, skills, and confidence they need to move beyond their tortured past, believe in each other, and create a sustainable livelihood together.
WD4H also helps out in our local community, reaching out to wheelchair-bound seniors and disabled adults through music and movement, providing a steady stream of volunteers at the Boys and Girls Club, partnering local at-risk high school students with Rwandan students through a Sister School program, and bringing our spirit and energy to community events that support justice and inclusion.
Meet World Dance Instructor and WD4H Executive Director, Janet Reineck, PhD
Janet’s background in ballet and modern dance led to an interest in ethnic dance in college and she studied, performed and taught Balkan dance in the U.S. and Europe during the 1970s. As a member of the Los Angeles-based Aman International Dance touring company, Janet performed the dances of the Middle East, Africa and Central Asia.
Janet earned her Bachelors in Ethnic Arts and a Master’s degree in Dance Ethnology from UCLA, and a PhD in Anthropology from the University of California, Berkeley. She lived in Kosovo (former Yugoslavia) for eight years, first conducting research, then as the director of rural development projects for Oxfam, International Rescue Committee, and George Soros’ Open Society Institute. Returning to Santa Barbara in 1997, Janet became a professional fundraiser, directing development efforts for local charities. Her goal in creating World Dance Workout is to share the joy of international music and dance while serving people in need.