Back in Denver, where I grew up, fall is a time of breezy temperatures, changing leaf colors, and pumpkins. Since joining the team at The Women’s Bakery, I’m delighted to say that my fall has instead been full of a bit more rain and a lot more bread. Pumpkin bread, of course.

Also with the onset of fall, our East Africa team has officially launched training with 15 women from Kigali! The start of our two-phased program is taking place at a church compound (inclusive of a training center and school) not far from Rwanda’s national stadium known as Amahoro. These women come from different parts of Kigali (many originally from outside the city) with the hope of gaining access to education, skills, and opportunity.

Uniquely so, our first Kigali-based training unites two groups of women together. 10 women are a women’s group associated with the host church, while the others were connected to us through a long-time friend of The Women’s Bakery and have been supported by a group of parents and students from The Westover School. With high spirits, the women have taken to each other quickly and openly! The first day, they sat together as one group as they learned about the curriculum and program that The Women’s Bakery brings.

A spirit of curiosity and engagement was obvious; women asked questions about how to stay on top of the concepts studied and how to apply them to their lives. On day two, our facilitators entered into our first batch of lessons: Values, Thinking & Learning Styles, and Nutrition.  

A heavy day of worksheets, explanation, and self-reflection, the women remained undeterred and enthused.

At the close of the week, two incredible evidences of purpose revealed themselves.

For one, when discussing a potential group name and the values they would adopt as a team, they chose the name Abahuje; meaning unity. This was of course followed by a 10-minute dance session to sing their name, Abahuje, loud and proud!

And two, as the night was winding down from day one, I received a text message from a friend of a training participant. It read, in reference to the woman’s involvement in the training –

She is so excited to be involved. She says it is so nice to be a part of something meaningful. She has never been to school before.

It’s certainly a new season for The Women’s Bakery and it’s encouragement like this that drives, propels, and motivates us further to work alongside these women for change.