The PEACE THROUGH BUSINESS® program has stayed true to our core mission of empowering women across our 13 years of service. Each year, 60 women put together their business plan during in-country studies in Rwanda and Afghanistan. The top 30 are selected to come to the US for two weeks of Leadership Development, and all return to their home communities with a mission to Pay It Forward. It is in this “third prong” of our program’s yearly procedures where a great of the magic happens, producing the many positive overflows that spring from economic empowerment, growth, and success.
Mathilde Umurerwa is one such bright light. A product of PTB’s Class of 2017, Mathilde built her own nutrition consulting company after transforming her own health and body years earlier. Her passion is healthy living, and her business allows her to educate fellow women on how to build and grow healthy bodies and families through the use of meal planning, shopping lists and more. As Mathilde herself says it, she sees following her heart as her gift to humanity, “reinforcing unity, love and cohesion between family members.” She credits her year with PTB as giving her the planning and marketing tools necessary to grow her business to where it is today, with the depth and breadth of her client list growing beyond her wildest dreams. In fact, she has almost 700 followers today that take advantage of her shared expertise and nutrition advice online.
But it was Mathilde’s experience during the Leadership Development portion of PTB that she says spurred her to truly embrace the concept of Paying It Forward. It was the fortuitous combination of networking experience and hands-on mentorship that helped her and others from the Class of 2017 begin a Women of Destiny networking and social group where they are pooling their brains and their resources to empower women who have not been given the access to education, training, and mentorship that they have received. The group is in its infancy, but together they plan to give back to their Rwandan community still rebuilding trust after genocide tore the country apart over 20 years ago. Imagine if all of us took that mindset, to be grateful for what we have been given, to see it as a gift, and then to share it with others despite the roadblocks we encounter: the world would and could change. If Mathilde could leave anyone struggling with one piece of advice, it would be: “stay confident and never give up; the best is yet to come.”