The Adventure Begins: Fletcher's Sarah Froehlke's (MALD23) Internship update from Rwanda

by VManve
Aug 04
I landed in Kigali, Rwanda, on Monday, May 30, 2022. Since then, I have hit the ground running with my organization, Hands of Mothers. It is a women-run nonprofit based in Kigali that works to empower vulnerable women and children through education and economic development programs. My role focuses on developing their education programs.
To begin my work, on Tuesday (May 31) my supervisor, Yvonne, drove me all around Kigali showing me the sites and the Hands of Mothers office where I met my other coworkers Immaculee and Merveille. Yvonne also helped me acquire a SIM card and trade out my US currency for Rwandan Francs. We also met with a woman, Taom, whose fruit stand we helped launch. She sold me some of her oranges and mangoes. On Thursday (June 2), my coworker Immaculee drove me to meet one of the families we sponsor. I had the opportunity to chat with Kristelle whom we sponsor with school fees. She told me that while she struggles academically, she hopes to one day become a doctor. I felt so honored to meet with Kristelle and hope to help her this summer!
Over the weekend, a fellow grad student and I made our way to the Nyamirambo neighborhood to take a walking tour with the Women’s Center. It was lovely to explore the neighborhood, particularly because it was a car-free zone. This past week, I sat in on one of our Savings and Lending Groups. I also made my way back to Taom’s fruit stand to buy her delicious mangoes. The following week, we visited with mothers who came to pay school fees. Yvonne and I also worked on a grant application to fund our Women Empowerment Program. On June 8th, one of our Savings and Lending Groups met for the first time since COVID. It was a happy and productive reunion where the women discussed how much they would collectively save. The next weekend was filled with meeting new friends, visiting different cafes, and exploring Kigali. This week is shaping up to be pretty busy! On Monday, we visited Imeza, a partner cooperative that shut down due to COVID-19. The group is working to relaunch its operations soon. For the next few days, I will be visiting schools around Kigali and chatting with some of the students whom we sponsor.
I am so excited to be in Kigali and cannot wait to see where this summer takes me!