I wanted to share with you an experience from my visit to Women for Women International in Rwanda last week, where I had the opportunity to meet my sister Brigitte. I call Brigitte my sister because I am sponsoring her to participate in our year-long training programme.
Last Thursday, we drove from the Rwandan capital Kigali for over 4 hours to reach Nyaruguru, in the far south of Rwanda. There are currently 500 women participating in the Women for Women International programme in this area and one of them happens to be my sister, Brigitte!
Brigitte has already had such a tough life and she is only nineteen.
Her parents could not afford to pay for her school uniform and books, so she did not attend school. Aged just 14 she made the 200km journey to Kigali alone, to find work as a house maid.
As a young girl alone in the capital city, she was soon taken advantage of by a young man working in the same house. She became pregnant, and the man pressured her to return home to her parents, with a promise that he would follow on and marry her. He didn’t keep this promise, leaving her alone with her parents who were very angry and treated her badly.
In Rwanda, there is a real social stigma attached to being a single mother. Shunned by her family, and with no means of earning an income to support herself and her child, Brigitte felt truly alone.
She heard about Women for Women International, and enrolled in our programme in January. Since then, she has been learning practical skills, including how to run a small business. She is now selling avocados and is already making a good income, which helps her take care of her family. Read more of Brigitte’s story.
I hope this email has transported you, just for a moment, to Rwanda and the incredible work we do here. This work is only possible thanks to donations from our supporters and sponsors.
Bernie, I would like to ask you to consider sponsoring a sister today. It costs £22 per month to support a woman through our year-long programme. You will receive a welcome pack with your sister's name and photo (if it is safe for her to share one), and regular updates on her progress in the programme. You can write her messages of support, and if she is able to she will write back.
Sponsoring Brigitte has been a very rewarding experience for me, and when we met I understood how much our connection means to her as well.
If you would like to sponsor a woman like Brigitte, please sign up today.