I knew about Rwanda, saw heart-yanking images and read articles of the 1994 genocide that left a nation scarred. But I didn't really feel the connection until my friend Elizabeth returned from working in the African country, where she'd educated and empwered women to take political stances and position as Rwanda slowly rebuilt. Elizabeth had also founded a nonprofit organization there, Every Child Is My Child, which funds education for children in Rwanda and Burundi.
She invited me to watch a marketing video and give feedback on Every Child's social media strategy, and even as I fed ideas and talked through content tactics, I was churning inside. With a volunteer staff and board, and only a few hundred dollars in donations, the organization provides tuition, uniforms, books and school supplies to enough kids that it the community has shifted. The cost is minimal -- less than my cable and phone bills for the month -- and investment is so critical -- kids having a backpack of what they need to enter a classroom, consider college, think about how to raise up Rwanda even more.
I felt just as heartened when I was introduced to Indego Africa, an organization that partners with 400 women artisans in Rwanda, with the same spirit of empowerment and access to resources, education and audience.