Graduate’s First Steps Story: Grace, Rwanda, 2022

This week, ARI and American Friends of ARI are fundraising for rural leaders to travel to ARI, with our Little by Little fundraising matching campaign on GlobalGiving. Read our story and consider supporting them with a donation.

Spring marks a new class of participants at ARI. Rural leaders are preparing for their journey to Japan.  For some ARI participants, this is their first time on a plane. Others travel more than a thousand miles to attend the Rural Leaders Training Program in Tochigi, Japan, leaving their families and community work behind for 9-months. Each day this week, we’ll highlight stories from graduates about their travels to ARI.

Rural leaders, like Grace from Rwanda, do this for the betterment of their communities. Here is Grace’s story of her travel to the Asian Rural Institute.

When my sending body first told me that I was selected to go to Japan for the Rural leaders training program, l was so surprised. On the day that l left my home, l was both happy and nervous because it was the first time to leave my community and to fly in an airplane. I anticipated the two-day flight to be very difficult.  When I arrived at Narita airport, I was not able to use my phone, so I was unable to communicate with the ARI staff members picking me up. I was so nervous. Fortunately, I sat next to a man who knew who was picking me up and assured me that they will come shortly.  I learned from this experience that there is always a helping hand ready to assist you if you face any challenges in your travel.

Transportation is the most significant barrier to attending the Rural Leaders Training Program, yet it is the first step to achieving both personal growth and community transformation that lasts for generations. ARI and AFARI invites you to join our Global campaign to help ensure that all ARI participants have the funds available to take that first step. Join us in helping a new class of ARI participants start their journey of transformation.

If you would like to support rural leaders like Grace, please consider donating to our campaign.