Changing Lives, one dance at a time

From The Intelligent Optimist Magazine

Fall/Winter 2016

By Jurriaan Kamp

Changing lives, one dance at a time. That is the mission of the California-based initiative World Dance for Humanity. Since 2010 dancer and anthropologist Janet Reineck has brought together women who explore the best of world dance and music. The mission: to get in shape as well as inspired by the richness of global history and culture while contributing to grassroots projects in developing countries. Dancers pay $10 per class; all proceeds go to the projects. Currently World Dance is supporting some 8,000 people in 20 rural cooperatives in Rwanda. Among other support, the dancing Californian women have contributed 672 goats, 28 full-grown pregnant cows, and 100 chickens that provide new and reliable sources of income for Rwandan families.

Reineck launched World dance after working as an aid worker in Kosovo and Rwanda among people lacking the basics necessities of life, and without hope. “I want to pierce through the veil of complacency and ease we experience here in the West. I want people to realize that if they have clean water, food, and shelter, they’re doing better than 83 percent of the people on the planet, and that there is something they can do to help communities struggling to survive. I want to respond to the humanitarian crisis many societies face by helping at least one community rebuild their lives”, she says.

This year a group of dancers visited the projects in Rwanda to see with their own eyes how communities are taking ownership of their transformation as a new generation grows up after the cruelty and hardship of the genocide in the 1990’s. Reineck: “Through our modest gifts of goats, cows, student stipends, training, and business support, they have the tools they need to create a sustainable income, and the confidence they need to envision and plan for the future.”

World dance is a testimony to the fact that small initiatives can create major, meaningful change. As Reineck says: “It’s exciting to get out there and make something happen for humanity.” 

The Tilapia Ponds at Kungabu Cooperative in Southwest Rwanda, one of 20 communities supported by World Dance for Humanity

World Dancers Katrina and Olga join in with local students during the group’s visit to Rwanda last summer

Portrait of a young woman from the Cokawi (“Wake Up and Improve Yourself”) Cooperative

Portrait of a Genocide survivor from the Abadacogora (“Those Who Never Give Up”) Cooperative

World Dance for Humanity Founder Janet Reineck with the women of Twirereabana (“Let Us Raise Our Kids”)

Kungabu Fish Farmers celebrating the Tilapia harvest

Solution News Source

Changing Lives, one dance at a time

From The Intelligent Optimist Magazine

Fall/Winter 2016

By Jurriaan Kamp

Changing lives, one dance at a time. That is the mission of the California-based initiative World Dance for Humanity. Since 2010 dancer and anthropologist Janet Reineck has brought together women who explore the best of world dance and music. The mission: to get in shape as well as inspired by the richness of global history and culture while contributing to grassroots projects in developing countries. Dancers pay $10 per class; all proceeds go to the projects. Currently World Dance is supporting some 8,000 people in 20 rural cooperatives in Rwanda. Among other support, the dancing Californian women have contributed 672 goats, 28 full-grown pregnant cows, and 100 chickens that provide new and reliable sources of income for Rwandan families.

Reineck launched World dance after working as an aid worker in Kosovo and Rwanda among people lacking the basics necessities of life, and without hope. “I want to pierce through the veil of complacency and ease we experience here in the West. I want people to realize that if they have clean water, food, and shelter, they’re doing better than 83 percent of the people on the planet, and that there is something they can do to help communities struggling to survive. I want to respond to the humanitarian crisis many societies face by helping at least one community rebuild their lives”, she says.

This year a group of dancers visited the projects in Rwanda to see with their own eyes how communities are taking ownership of their transformation as a new generation grows up after the cruelty and hardship of the genocide in the 1990’s. Reineck: “Through our modest gifts of goats, cows, student stipends, training, and business support, they have the tools they need to create a sustainable income, and the confidence they need to envision and plan for the future.”

World dance is a testimony to the fact that small initiatives can create major, meaningful change. As Reineck says: “It’s exciting to get out there and make something happen for humanity.” 

The Tilapia Ponds at Kungabu Cooperative in Southwest Rwanda, one of 20 communities supported by World Dance for Humanity

World Dancers Katrina and Olga join in with local students during the group’s visit to Rwanda last summer

Portrait of a young woman from the Cokawi (“Wake Up and Improve Yourself”) Cooperative

Portrait of a Genocide survivor from the Abadacogora (“Those Who Never Give Up”) Cooperative

World Dance for Humanity Founder Janet Reineck with the women of Twirereabana (“Let Us Raise Our Kids”)

Kungabu Fish Farmers celebrating the Tilapia harvest

Solution News Source

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