In December of 2011, World Dance partnered with Santa Barbara-based Goats for Life to help people struggling to survive in post-genocide Rwanda. The charity’s founder Betsy Kain, who travels regularly to Rwanda (on her own dime) to understand the communities she serves, has become a dear friend and trusted project partner.
We are now focusing on one community in Rwanda, the Never Again Fellowship, an extraordinary cooperative composed of 300 households from the three previously warring Hutu, Tutsi and Twa (Pygmy) ethnic groups who have vowed, “NEVER AGAIN” to genocide. They are struggling to survive, farming the land the government has lent them.
- In June, World Dance donated 2 full-grown, pregnant cows to the Never Again Fellowship.
- In October, we gave them 185 goats to complete their herd, so now every household has a goat.
- In November, we gave the community 4 South African milking goats to breed with local goats.
- In December, we’re providing 125 mattresses for the poorest members of Never Again who are sleeping on the ground or on thin mats.
- In December, we’re providing a keyboard, microphones and amplifiers for their music which is critical to the community as they work to heal from the genocide.
- In December, we sent 39 children to school – from Never Again and from the Murindi cooperative.
- In April 2013, we provided 20 goats to the Twa community on the Burindi/Congo border.
Justin Bisengimana, a native Rwandan, works for Goats for Life, and sends extraordinary reports from the field documenting each part of the project and bringing frequent messages from the people there. Click here to see some of Justin’s moving, meaningful reports that have brought us so close to the people of Never Again:
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
20 Goats to the Twa (Abakundanu) cooperative 4-5-13
Milk goats to Joy & Their Tomorrow co-ops April 2013
In June, World Dance raised the funds, through class fees and donations, to give Never Again two full-grown, pregnant Holstein cows so that each of the five groups in the cooperative has milk for the families in that group. See an extraordinary report from Justin here: World Dance Cows to Never Again 8/18/12
In October, we donated 185 goats, so that now every household in the Never Again community has a goat. The animals have babies twice a year, usually twins, and are sold for cash–giving the families a sustainable income stream for their basic needs. The goats also enable the villagers to fertilize their crops, which makes a big difference in the output of the farms. Click here to read the moving responses to this life-saving gift:
185 goats delivered to Never Again 10/17/12
In November, we raised funds for 4 milk goats. Now each of the five groups has a milk goats which they will breed with the local (non-milk-producing) goats to produce milk goats–which is totally new for this community. See Justin’s beautiful report here:
4 milk goats to Never Again 11/5/12
Here are just a few of the multitude of greetings to World Dance from our new family at Never Again:
“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 physically 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.
“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
A Message from Betsy: “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.”