With less than three weeks to opening day here in Butare, training for our potential employees is stepping up a level – and we’re delighted to welcome three representatives of the Business Council for Peace (Bpeace) to lead a week’s intensive work on customer service, running a business and managing personal finances.
Bpeace is a not-for-profit organisation that works with entrepreneurs in conflict-affected countries to scale their businesses, create signficant employment for all, and expand the economic power of women. It has worked with several companies here in Rwanda, including the Petit Prince Hotel in Butare, and its representatives – Sabra Richardson, Fran Pastore and Donna Fleetwood – bring with them a wealth of experience in business, training and empowering women.
One thing we know for a sure – they were an instant hit with our trainees.
Sabra took the floor first, and here’s a little of what she said:
“We’re going to teach you how to run your ice cream shop, so that you can make money and so that you can help your families. We’ll teach you customer service, so that you can be nice to your customers and everyone will run to your store.
“We believe that the more jobs you have, the less violence there is. My personal wish for all of you is that whatever you learn about business, you share it with your family, with your village, with your community, because the more information we share, the more everyone will rise. You can show others how to make a profit, so that all businesses in your community can be successful.”
Next it was Donna’s turn to say some heartfelt words. “You are all part of my dream,” she said. “For so long I’ve thought about the moment I’d come here and see your beautiful faces – and you’re even more beautiful than I dreamed. We are so proud of you.
“We’ve seen your energy when you are drumming, your passion, your inspiration. I know this is going to be a huge success, and even though we may not always speak the same language, I see you and I hear you and I feel you always.”
Fran, from the Women’s Development Business Centre at Stamford, summed up the introductions.
“Congratulations everyone,” she said. “You have all taken a very big step in your lives to take advantage of this opportunity. I am very happy to play a small part in this adventure. I work with women and men like you every day, helping them to improve their lives and those of their families. It’s thrilling to be here today and I’m so excited. It’s going to be an exciting, educational and fun week. Thank you so much for having us.”
All that was left was to meet each other and mingle, so we let the women take over the camera to capture the atmosphere just for you.