News: Musanze Women Reap Money from Agaseke
By Heather Bing, Ed 2 and Meghan Costello, Ed 2
Originally Published in the New Times
RUHENGERI—In a small village outside of Ruhengeri, a group of nine women are working for change. Dufatanye mu Mahoro, "to share peace" in English, is an association of Rwandan women working together. They specialize in the traditional Rwandese art forms of basket weaving and the making of banana beer. Working in association with Amahoro Tours, Dufatanye mu Mahoro demonstrates how to make banana beer and weave baskets to interested tourists looking to learn more about Rwandan culture. Together for more than four years, they use the profits they make selling these goods to improve their local community. They utilize the profits by sending their children and grandchildren to school and improving the general quality of life in the area. Aged 26-78, their hope is to continue to teach these arts to younger generations of girls in their village, thereby helping keep the traditional culture alive.
In order to achieve these goals, Dufatanye mu Mahoro has recently undertaken a new challenge. These women, many of whom have little to no education, decided to learn some of the English language. They plan to use these new skills to communicate with their clients and build stronger relationships with visitors, hopefully improving the business at the same time. With the help of Amahoro Tours, the group partnered with two PCVs.
They studied basic English, focusing on buying and selling, and questions for communicating with their clients. The partnership has been beneficial for all parties involved. Their Peace Corps teachers, Heather Bing and Meghan Costello, are vol-unteers who live in small communities, teaching in secondary schools in Rwanda. They found the project rewarding in several ways, particularly seeing the joy of students with a drive to improve their association through creating a stronger bond with their visitors through the English language.