Women for Rwanda Supper Club

Women for Rwanda Supper Club
Women for Rwanda Supper Club


As part of Women for Rwanda‘s project One Woman, One Year, One house, the supper club initiative was born to increase awareness while enjoying a pleasurable experience such as eating. We realised how doing charity per se is a concept of the past century and people are fed up with pictures of misery and grievance, for this we believe that taking to a table the discussion around women empowerment and development is indeed a stronger motivator for change.
Indeed, our guests have found rather pleasurable to share their evening with a conscious audience and of course traditional Rwandese food. It is rather hard, even in a cosmopolite London, to find Rwandese dishes and delicatessen, hence we decided that we had the duty to share one of the million wonders of Rwanda. We decided to serve avocado on a bed of homemade croutons as starter together with homemade bread (all of course watered with the right dose of nectar). The meal proceeded with traditional grilled goat meat -locally sourced- together with plantain and spicy beans. We could not conclude better the dinner than with a plantain cake and Rwandese tea (some of us have spiced it up with a hint of honey rum, unfortunately could not make banana beer, a traditional Rwandese drink).

We hope that this initiative will be the beginning of a new chapter of Women for Rwanda‘s campaigns, fusing dining with awareness and empowerment. If you would like to take part in the sustainable supper club movement, we would be more than happy to welcome you and your friends or cater delicious Rwandese food at your front door andshare our story.

Women for Rwanda Supper Club Menu
Women for Rwanda Supper Club Menu

At Women for Rwanda we believe that just because you cannot do everything does not mean you should do nothing.



May 15th – International Day of Families

Not every family wears anoraks and goes on walking holidays in Wales.
Not every family wears anoraks and goes on walking holidays in Wales.

In the West we have a problem. But don’t worry, there’s a fix for it, and apparently it’s approved by mums.

This preppy little phrase has recently crept into our advertising, reviving in us the outdated motto that mother knows best. It seems that society feels like without an apron wearing, wooden spoon brandishing wife in rollers we might not know which cleaning product to use, which nappies to buy or how best to entertain children with saccharine snacks. Despite the rise in the number of families with working mothers we still like to pretend that nuclear family not only exists, but is to be idealised. This International Day of Families too many of us will still be labouring under the ideal that Mum, Dad, Tilly, Tom and Rover the dog are celebrating with a home cooked family dinner.

Our tunnel vision of the family is exclusionary, prejudiced and frankly counter-productive. Throughout the world ‘family’ is stretched to fit a plethora of lifestyles, some you may not even recognise. Remember the first time you realised your family was a bit weird? That not every family wore matching yellow anoraks when on they went on walking holidays in Wales. That some families produced Christmas musicals containing the smallest members of their brood that were so elaborate they could rival the West End. That not every family talked to each other the way yours did. Variation in family exists in one community, on one street, let alone across continents. We get so caught up in the definition, in the semantics, that we forget the sentiment. Family is no more blood than it is bonds. Family are the people who care for you, support you, respect you and protect you. Family has never been so complicated, or less so. The only thing that has ever been simpler has been the stereotype.

After the genocide in Rwanda people built families from whoever they could cling to. When you’ve lost your blood relatives and seen your village consumed by an evil you can barely speak of, you do the most human thing you can; cling to each other. WomenforRwanda is about hearing the stories we wish have never even happened, hearing the voices of Rwandan women because their stories are bittersweet, beautiful and full of life. So this International Day of Families, go and tell the story of your family. Tell it to your kids, your friends and your work colleagues. Then ask them for the story of their family.

Family are the people who care for you.
Family are the people who care for you.

Every family is different, some have ugly sides, some have silly sayings but all have an awesome role in shaping us as people, and us as a society. Go tell your story and remind yourself that family is more than a six letter word.

By Claire Smith

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

Happy International Day for the Eradication of Poverty!

One of UN Millennium Development Goals is to end extreme poverty by 2015.

Since 1993, October 17 has been recognized by the UN as a day to promote awareness of the poverty, hunger, and violence happening in countries all over the world. The day calls for recognition of those victims of destitution and to remind the world that the United Nations regards fighting poverty at the core of its development agenda. World leaders have come together under this initiative and are determined to cut the numbers of people living in extreme poverty in half by 2015.

This year’s theme will focus on “Ending the Violence of Extreme Poverty: Promoting Empowerment and Building Peace”. This is a theme that hits close to home for Women for Rwanda, as we are well aware of how poverty and violence often go hand in hand. With nearly two thirds of the Rwandan population living below the poverty line and the ethnic tension that continues to lead to violence we promote International Day for the Eradication of Poverty in hope that the world’s leaders will continue to work towards development in areas suffering from poverty and violence.

Today government officials and representatives from civil society, including those living in poverty, are meeting in the UN headquarters in New York. UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has provided a message for today, “Rampant poverty, which has festered for far too long, is linked to social unrest and threats to peace and security. On this International day, let us make an investment in our common future by helping to lift people out of poverty so that they, in turn, can help to transform our world.”

Peacebuilding in Rwanda

A few nights ago I attended a talk by Freddy Mutanguha at the Royal Commonwealth Society near Embankment in London. Freddy is the director of the Kigali Memorial Centre, and his speech was about Peacebuilding in Rwanda. Although there are no perfect solutions, I want to share with you what I gathered from Freddy’s talk.

Freddy, the director of the Kigali Memorial Centre, was visiting London this week.

The event began with a video clip that Aegis Trust, the charity that built the Kigali Memorial Centre, had put together. The clip, called Not On My Watch, was a touching overview of the genocide and its aftermath. I picked up the following, unsettling numbers to demonstrate the totality of the genocide: in 100 days 1,000,000 people were killed, mostly by using machetes. That means 10,000 people a day, 400 an hour, 7 people every minute.

Today 18 years have passed since the genocide. The Rwandan government has taken extensive measures to encourage unity (such as forbidding public use of the words ‘Hutu’ and ‘Tutsi’), but many still argue that these measures are ineffective, perhaps even counterproductive. Most of the audience questions had to do with how is Rwanda really coping today. One audience member raised his hand and said he had recently visited Northern Rwanda and attended a church service in a village. He pointed out that the church had consisted exclusively of Hutus, and implied that Rwandan society is still largely segregated. Freddy, who had talked a lot about unity, simply answered that a possible reason there weren’t any Tutsis in that church was because there are none left in the area. There are parts of Rwanda where the genocide was completed wholly and entirely.

Another audience member asked about the psychology of the perpetrators. She had difficulty grasping the brutality of the killings and she asked whether the perpetrators today are in denial or help in Peacebuilding.

“No one really thought about psychology at first,” Freddy said. Today, the perpetrators are divided: some help in Peacebuilding, some just want to forget. Freddy gave an example how on every last Saturday of every month people across Rwanda get together to clean roads of the villages and work together for a better community. This means both victims and perpetrators. Officially, no one is a Hutu or Tutsi anymore; all people are Rwandese.

The conversation then went on to discuss education. Freddy himself is a certified teacher at the National University of Rwanda. In his talk, he highlighted the importance of critical thinking. To demonstrate what he meant he used a light-hearted example of Omo, the detergent product. He said that everyone in Rwanda washes their clothes with Omo but if someone is to ask them ‘why Omo’ most people wouldn’t know what to say. He said that the most important thing in genocide education is to teach children to critically assess their personal beliefs and those of society, beliefs no matter how small, from ideas of washing detergent, to ideas of nationality, gender, ethnicity, and race.

Someone then asked, “But is it enough?”

Freddy smiled at the immensity of the question, and said “What we can do, lets do it.”

Freddy’s words go hand-in-hand with the quote Women for Rwanda runs by: Just because you can’t do everything, doesn’t mean you should do nothing. If you can do it, lets do it!

Starbucks Event 2012

Last week Women for Rwanda partnered up with Starbucks to sell Starbucks coffee and products both at Hult House on John Street, and at Hult Russel Square. All coffee and products were donated by Starbucks on Southampton Row.

Overall, the day was a success! Not only did the students and faculty at Hult get to enjoy great coffee in the midst of their finals week, but Women for Rwanda gained further recognition within the student community. Thanks to Starbucks’ generous involvement, all money made in the coffee sale will directly go to Women for Rwanda.

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International Women’s Day

This spring, on International Women’s Day, March 8th, Women for Rwanda walked through London with Million Women Rise demanding to end male violence against women. Million Women Rise is a London-based coalition, which organized its first Women’s Day march in 2008. The theme this year was The Girl Child, and the featured color was purple. Purple is the color of mourning in Rwanda, thus, our group wore our purple t-shirts to bring recognition to Rwandan women, and to support all women around the world in their struggle against violence.

Together we can end male violence.
Together we can end male violence.
Marching to Trafalgar Square
Marching to Trafalgar Square

Next year’s theme is Womanist Revolution. The march will take place on March 8th in Central London. Save the date if you’d like to be involved!