Educate - Employ - Empower

Colleen Napolitano

Posted on July 22 2015

Photo: Indego Africa

Rwandan Business Training

An Interns Perspective


As roll call was read out loud for the very first time in the Business Training course classroom on June 4th, it marked the beginning of an empowering educational journey for 18 of our Same Sky artisans.

Since that day, the artisans have been hard at work every Friday morning further developing their business skills, and transforming their greatest dreams into a reality. Together over the past month, the artisans have formed a powerful learning community. From their individual dedication to their positive collective energy that fills the classroom every week, the artisans have immersed themselves in a learning environment that will build personal and communal growth.

At Same Sky, we believe in the power of community and the potential of every active citizen. Each artisan is an influential contributor to the classroom. This is illustrated by their teacher, who has been overwhelmed by the amount of meaningful questions she receives after every class and their motivation to learn English terms to help their future business endeavors.

In particular this week, we would like to recognize five of our artisans who have been elected as class leaders. The Class Representative: Therese Mugorewera, Time Keeper: Beatha Kabagwira, Morale: Speciose Kangwera, In-Charge of Discipline: Bethea Mukankusi, and Reporter of Class Activities: Cecile Gupenda. As the artisans learned in their second lesson about elections, it is vital to choose the right people to lead and manage, hold leaders accountable, ensure good governance, change cooperative strategies, encourage trust, maintain morale, and provide learning and leadership opportunities. These five women have demonstrated their understanding of this lesson as class leaders and we have been inspired by the leadership role they have taken inside classroom.

In addition to learning about elections, the artisans were taught during their third lesson about the importance of statements of purpose to the cooperative, what statements of purpose contain, how statements of purpose help cooperatives make decisions as an organization, and the key elements of bylaws. During this class, the artisans discussed the Same Sky mission and why it is important to them. From their courageous and meaningful words, everyone at Same Sky has been inspired by their work.  We are constantly reminded by our artisans of our shared mission and vision, and the remarkable impact it has on us all.

Although thousands of miles away from our artisans during this time, I feel connected to them. As in intern in the Same Sky office and college student, I am empowered by the artisans. They remind me everyday of the value of education, and the importance of our collective mission as members of the Same Sky community.

By wearing Same Sky jewelry, we are all connected.  It acts as a symbol to everyone who wears it of our shared learning experience, our mission, and hope for the future.  We are incredibly proud of the accomplishments our artisans are making inside of the classroom, feel inspired to be a part of their journey, and are excitedly anticipating more updates to share with all of you!


- Elizabeth Longo, Same Sky Intern

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