Lisa Rogoff

Lisa Rogoff (Survivor Corps in Rwanda): Lisa has spent much of her professional career promoting human rights. She earned a BA from Colgate University. She then worked for the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum’s Committee on Conscience where she produced Voices on Genocide Prevention, a weekly podcast. Lisa then worked at the ENOUGH Project, directing campaigns to raise awareness about the crises in Sudan, Congo and Uganda. Lisa returned to academia to pursue a joint-degree at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service and McDonough School of Business. While at Georgetown she worked at the Clinton Global Initiative, designing the Human Rights and Peace Track for the CGI’s second annual conference for university students. During her first year at graduate school, Lisa also worked with the Grassroots and Issues Management Team at APCO Worldwide, a global communications consulting firm. After her fellowship, Lisa wrote: "My experience in Rwanda has taught me the importance of flexibility. I’ve also seen the importance of empowering women...I don’t know that I’ve changed the way I look at myself, though I have come to understand just how fortunate I am to have been born in my circumstances. I have met so many wonderful and talented men and women in Rwanda who have been unable to realize their fullest potential because of their economic, social, or political situations.”

Women for Women

19 Jun


Yesterday, I had the opportunity to visit Women for Women in Rwanda.  As readers of this blog know, I sponsor a woman in the Congo, and I absolutely love this organization.  Up until yesterday, I had only seen the work Women for Women does from the US perspective – the amazing letters I get from Jeanine (and last year from Saverine) – so visiting Women for Women in Rwanda was a special treat.

Peace, the Program Manager in Rwanda, welcomed me with open arms and told me all about the work WfW does in Rwanda.  Every Tuesday and Thursday morning, women from Kigali (or within an hour-walking distance) come to the offices for various workshops.  The other days, the WfW staff head out to the different provinces to work with women who live too far to come into Kigali.

Peace also explained the complex process WfW uses to select participants and the rigorous training programs that the women go through to gain skills and build confidence.  WfW creates groups of women from the same village that go through the year-long process together so that they have a network of support when they graduate from the program.

Peace was kind enough to set me up with a translator who took me from workshop to workshop, introducing me to the women, explaining the skills they were teaching and the questions the women were asking, and finally translating questions that the women had for me.  I visited four different workshops – Domestic Violence, Women’s Rights and the Rwanda Constitution, Women and Voting, and Nutrition – and at each session, the women warmly welcomed me, thanked me for sponsoring a sister, and at my last workshop, sang to me (see video above).

The women were not shy about asking questions.  Several times, I was asked if I experience domestic violence and how women in my country fight against it.  They asked about my husband, and when I told them I didn’t have a husband, only a boyfriend, they had even more questions.  We had a bit of trouble communicating the fact that I live with him out of wedlock.  The women asked if they could come to my wedding and said that I should marry soon (and I thought my mom put the pressure on!).  When I showed them a picture of Zach on my digital camera, the women were delighted!  I don’t think Zach ever thought he would be such a celebrity!

Visiting Women for Women was an amazing experience.  I would urge everyone to check out Women for Women’s website and consider sponsoring a woman.  I can’t think of a better way to spend a few dollars a month.

Check out the rest of the photos here.

Lastly a special thanks to Patty, Ricki, Danuta, Priscilla, Peace, and the Women for Women gang that organized such a special day.

Posted By Lisa Rogoff

Posted Jun 19th, 2009

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