SheKnows is a website primarily for women. In the website, there are many articles covering a variety of topics such as pregnancy, beauty, style, and career. It has attracted over 43 million unique visitors since January 2013. Community-powered journalists create the content and distribute it to the many viewers. Food for the Hungry, on the other hand, is a Christian global organization that serves the poor. This includes emergency relief as well as more long-term projects in an attempt to end world hunger once and for all. These projects include helping children have access to food and water, agricultural programs, spreading education, and more. Recently, the SheKnows website and the Food for the Hungry decided to create a partnership in order to launch “Raising Rwanda.”
SheKnows, and a few Arizonan volunteers, traveled to Rwimbingo, a remote village in Rwanda in order to support the Food for the Hungry organization in a project to overcome poverty by creating solutions that are sustainable. This trip included visits to the village’s elementary schools as well as churches, as well as an attempt to create lasting bonds with the residents as they helped to build homes for those who needed them. Throughout the trip, SheKnows brought video in order to document the mission, which became Raising Rwanda. The videographer was Ted Willis, a representative of SheKnows.
Raising Rwanda is a story of hope. Ted Willis called the women living in the village of Rwimbogo “survivors.” They are welcoming, strong, and willing to fight for one another. The entire community is one. Dave Evans, the President of the United States branch of Food for the Hungry, said that the work of Food for the Hungry requires partnership with other organizations. He mentioned that the “journey of overcoming poverty is underway.”
SheKnows has posed a challenge to those that read the website, or anyone who hears about Raising Rwanda – they challenge them to become a part of the movement to end poverty and to help children and communities who need it. Raising Rwanda started with a donation from SheKnows to the village of 75 backpacks full of supplies for school, but that was just the first step. SheKnows tells their readers to realize that 32 million children in Africa that are primary school-age are not in school, and there are 47 million children in Africa who are completely illiterate.
Rwimbogo is a part of Rwanda with thousands of people, so the operation was on a larger scale than some of the volunteers realized. Even though most of the citizens in Rwimbogo were stuck in a cycle of extreme poverty, they had a strong sense of pride in their community, and love for one another. Food for the Hungry has an impact on child sponsorship, but Raising Rwanda actually was a hands-on project to document the extreme poverty of Rwimbogo and to build houses. They also hope to help Rwimbogo help themselves in the future; they want to give them self-sustainability. Part of this program included helping the citizens purchase goats to empower them. However, it was not just a handout – when the goats eventually have children, the citizens will give the children to others to help their families as well. The goats are an investment in an area of extreme poverty.
Overall, the volunteers did several things in Rwimbogo to help out, but there is more to be done in terms of extreme poverty. More funds need to go towards reducing poverty and increasing education in areas like Rwimbogo, and with global support, the elimination of poverty is not so far away.
– Corina Balsamo