It should come as no surprise that we at True Vineyard are staunch supporters of women working in positions of leadership. Both of our trauma counselors in Rwanda are Rwandese women as is our production supervisor. We employ 122 women because we know that, when women are gainfully employed, they are able to provide for their families and educate their children.
Employing women is the key to breaking the poverty cycle.
Following the Genocide against the Tutsi, the infrastructure of Rwanda was decimated. Hundreds of thousands of men were murdered and many of the male perpetrators fled to neighboring countries. What remained was a broken land…and 70% of the population was female.
This forced women into positions they had not previously filled. ..political office, manual labor, farming.
Many women took in children of deceased friends or family members. In a country that had been laid low by chaos, trauma and atrocity, it was women who began the work toward security.
It was women who began the long process of healing.
Decades after genocide, history largely credits the women of Rwanda for their crucial role in rebuilding a shattered country. That healing continues today. Many of the women we employ continue to care for children who are not biologically theirs. Others are providing the sole source of income for their families. All are working to make life better for their loved ones.
So…what does it mean to be a woman in Rwanda?
It means knitting back together hearts once ripped apart through trauma….fragile as tissue paper….changed but whole and beautiful.
It means stepping into roles that are new and uncertain with full confidence they are not alone…that they are fully capable.
It means fighting persistently and relentlessly for a future that offers the next generation education and hope.
The women of Rwanda are daughters, mothers, wives and friends.
What a joy it is to work for them every day.