After watching young Americans take educational opportunities for granted, “it’s rewarding for me to see the women so hungry to learn,” she said.
There are a dozen young women ages 12 to 19 now enrolled in the Ubushobozi program.
Students earn between $10 and $22 a week, depending in their skill and use the money to support themselves and relatives.
Each receives meals, free health insurance and computer training at the program’s home.
“The older women and girls in the project formed a cooperative, which is huge in many African countries, and they are recognized in all of Rwanda,” Siporin said in an email.
“The cooperative opened the shop in the house Ubushobozi rents” in the village of Musanze at the foot of the Virunga Mountains.
It is these mountains where Diane Fossey did her work with gorillas and where busloads of international travelers visit while gorilla trekking in the region, she said.
They stop at the Ubhshobozi house, visit with the girls and women while they shop, and the girls dance and sing for them, Siporin said.
Bright hopes the Mom Prom will have higher even attendance this year. Judging from the response she had after the last one held in September, things look promising.
“Some people didn’t know what Mom Prom was, but someone put it up on Facebook last year, and I started hearing from people who said they’d want to come if we had another one,” she said.
Email Denise A. Raymo:email@example.com
For Mom Prom tickets or for more information, call Marcy Bright at 521-0396. Bags made by the women in the Rwanda program can be purchased for $15 to $25 through Marcy Bright at 529-6325 or Jeanne Siporain at firstname.lastname@example.org.