BY BRAD KING
Today we started the Accelerate Summit 2015, which is the main purpose of our trip. This three day conference is designed to take educated Rwandans and equip them to become successful entrepreneurs. The event sponsored by These Numbers Have Faces (http://thesenumbers.org) is a series of speeches and workshops by our team from River West and a group of Rwandan leaders.
There were about 350 applicants and 100 students were selected. They are college students or graduates. Typically a degree in business in Rwanda isn’t as advanced as the U.S. So some basic concepts are presented along with the skills to develop a viable business plan, get financing if needed, as well as develop salesmanship and an ability to pitch their idea. What makes this event different than others presented in Rwanda about entrepreneurship is the foundational principle of integrating faith and your work. Out of these 100 participants, 20 will be selected to go through an additional 8-month training program with These Numbers Have Faces. The participants were also given exercises to discover their talents, abilities, and spiritual gifts. Throughout the day as their entrepreneurial vision was challenged some became aware that there were serious flaws that had to be addressed or changed, while others were able to start forming concrete business plans and move forward. There is the issue of making a profit, which can be challenging long term but the bigger issue is for them to discover their gifts and pursue a vision that incorporates those gifts with a plan which meets market demands and has a God-given purpose bigger than themselves.
The feedback from the participants so far, was that this conference was a unique experience involving direct, personal involvement by the leaders, something they aren’t used to. Our goal is to continue building hope and encouragement into their lives, model Christ’s love, and give them some practical advice to facilitate a successful business venture.
Thanks for your continued prayers!
“So the poor have hope, and injustice shuts her mouth.” JOB 5:16
Imagine a community filled with 30,000 people who were forced to leave their home country with nothing but the clothes on their back. This is Gihembe refugee camp. Over the last few decades, the UN estimates that some 85,000 refugees have fled to Rwanda from Congo and other African countries. The majority of refugees are hosted in five camps — Kigeme, Kiziba, Mugombwa, Nyabiheke, and Gihembe. Continue reading
- Pray that our team will be a bright witness for Christ as we meet with refugees, university students, business leaders, and entrepreneurs.
- Pray that the Lord will guide leaders from These Numbers Have Faces as they select students to participate in the Accelerate Academy—a year long program that will equip Christian entrepreneurs with the skills and resources to create jobs and launch businesses in Rwanda.
BY RHONDA BIRCHARD
Today I met a little prayer warrior named Faith.
I am on a six-woman team in Rwanda, called here to teach Rwandan women leaders in ministry. In addition to preparing for our conference, today we went to the villages to meet our sponsored children. Child sponsorship is the original vehicle for connecting our church with the people of Rwanda. Four other visits had already taken place. Some were reuniting with children they had met previously. Others, like mine, were first-time meetings. Continue reading