Last Thursday night, about 120 people gathered to celebrate Rwanda and its bright future at the Ibori! A Celebration of Rwandan Progress sponsored by Indego Africa (www.indegoafrica.org).
Indego Africa describes itself as a non-profit built upon the belief that Africans can overcome poverty by taking full advantage of market opportunities and upgrading their job skills to improve their long-term earning prospects. Indego Africa directs 100% of profits from sales towards training its partner artisans in other skills that are valued in their local economy.
Nearly 5,000 days have passed since the end of the Rwandan genocide, and as the tragedy recedes, Rwandans are moving boldly into the future. The event focused on the country’s future and featured a silent auction, hors d’oeuvrves, drinks and speakers.
I volunteered at this event through One Brick DC, which is a group that volunteers at events all over the DC area. We One-Brickers worked as the event staff – serving food, bartending, cleaning up, etc. Continues after the jump.
A highlight of the night was an appearance and speech by H.E Eng. James Kimonyo, the Ambassador of the Embassy of Rwanda. Many of the goods made by the Rwandan women were auctioned off. Their work was beautiful.
One thing that seems really cool to me is how Indego Africa’s model gives 100% of the proceeds back to the women in Rwanda who are a part of the Indego Africa cooperative. I have heard of similar charities that give back parts of the profit, but this place gives back all of it. The profits help the women with field development. They determine what skills they want to gain, and Indego Africa trains them and also finds local NGOs to assist them.
To share more about One Brick for those interesting in volunteering and/or learning more, One Brick describes itself as a 501(c)3 non-profit volunteer organization that brings volunteers together to support other local non-profit organizations by adopting an innovative twist to the volunteer experience: we create a friendly and social atmosphere around volunteering, and after each volunteer event — which typically lasts only 3 to 4 hours — we invite volunteers to gather at a local restaurant or café where they can get to know one another in a relaxed social setting.
I personally have been volunteering with One Brick for two years, and I am a member of the management team and I often run the volunteer events.
One Brick is a great for people who want to do something charitable and give back to the community, but cannot make the commitment to be at a volunteer activity on a consistent basis.
It is essentially a noncommittal volunteer organization. The idea is that one brick at a time; we can all make a difference.
One Brick offers about 10 volunteer events a month. They are usually 2-5 hours long, and all events require no prior training. One Brick takes care of all the logistics, you just show up to volunteer. After most of the events, if volunteers are interested, people go hang out at a bar or restaurant. The events are offered on weeknights and weekends in DC, Maryland and Virginia. Check out www.onebrick.org to see the event line-up. There is also a diversity of events to appeal to different interests. Events range from packing food at a food bank to breaking down a stage at a theater to painting faces at a kids’ fair.