Planting the Seeds for Brighter Futures
Life is hard for any single mother. It’s even harder for young women in Rwanda, where pervasive gender inequalities and intentional exclusion push them to society’s most distant edges—where they find little support for improving their lives … and the lives of their children.
An innovative new farming program in the Gasabo district of Kigali aims to change that, one family at a time. And it starts with empowering young mothers with in-demand skills.
“Our missionaries in Rwanda are particularly interested in helping women prepare for employment and to find work,” says Father Timothy Ploch, interim director of Salesian Missions. “Self-sufficiency helps them, their children, and their communities move out of poverty and into more sustainable futures.”
The goals of this new program include training women in agricultural skills and helping them break through gender barriers in the industry. There are currently 25 students enrolled in the initial phase of the course, which will teach them how to plant and cultivate bananas, tomatoes, peppers and onions. The women will also learn about raising farm animals.
Because many of the women can’t afford the necessary tools to work the fields, our Salesian missionaries proactively address this barrier of enrollment by providing start-up kits, too. As part of the course, every student receives overalls, shoes, hoes, rakes, spades, sprayers, soaps and vegetable seeds.
“This course is another good example of how our missionaries identify local needs and create training programs to match,” Fr. Tim explains. “Rwanda is primarily a rural, agricultural country, so learning to work the land makes perfect sense—especially for impoverished and marginalized young mothers who need new opportunities to build sustainable livelihoods. I’m excited to see how this initial class progresses and how the demand for training grows.”
Learn more about our work in Rwanda.
Our mission empowers women with the knowledge and skills they need to support themselves, their families, and their communities. What’s your mission?