Recently, we were approached by a lady named Petronilla seeking some advice and assistance with a project she was putting together. After Claire and I discussed it for approximately 2 minutes, we decided to get involved.
I want to share the project with you, not for the purposes of self-congratulations, but rather to applaud the resourcefulness and commitment of the lady who came up with this idea.
Many of us sit back and see the things in the world fall apart through war, disease, greed, and so on. However, when I heard Petronilla's idea to try and lift a group of women in Gahini, Rwanda out of poverty by helping them start a winery, I knew we had to be involved.
Gahini is a village and sector in Kayonza District, Eastern Province, Rwanda. It is situated on a hill, at an altitude of 1,520 metres above sea-level, close to the eastern edge of Lake Muhazi and 73 kilometres by road from the capital, Kigali.
Mangoes and pineapples are plentiful in this area. Most of the wine currently produced in Africa comes from the South Africa region. Petronilla's idea is to make use of the local fruit to make wine in Gahini and (ultimately) sell it across the African continent.
The first stage of the project will be to create, test, and perfect the recipes and techniques. This will involve pulling together the equipment she needs and then, making small batches that can be fine tuned until they reach a state where they can be commercially reproduced. Once that stage is cleared, the next step would be to help them to increase production. The money generated from that can help them to expand their facilities and grow their business.
My personal involvement would be to offer business planning, marketing, and sales advice. Since Petronilla is the expert in local government and traditions, she is the go-to person when it comes to next steps. Our involvement will be to help launch, teach and then, advise; not to run the business. The goal is to make the ladies that will be part of this program self-sufficient.
As with any enterprise, there are always risks, but if the initial stage reaches the point where a reasonable chance of success is likely, we will look at coordinating funding options, be that through the Government of Canada, GoFundMe, etc. to help them to ramp up the operations to the next level(s).
In the meantime, keep a good wish for Petronilla and her mission. After all the strife Rwanda has suffered, it's nice to see people looking for ways to heal the land, the people, and of course, the Country.