Keza Paints a Bright Future
During my most recent assignment with HOPE International, which required me moving to Rwanda and working remotely as part of their communications team, I came upon a story which I knew was special. With the help of HOPE and a brilliant Illustrator, Dale Vande Griend, I decided to write a children's book that would engage the western world with daily life in Rwanda.
"Keza Paints a Bright Future" follows a young Rwandan girl who loves the brilliant colors she sees in hills and fields around her home. More than anything, Keza dreams of joining the other children at school to learn how to read and write. But she and her family are struggling to make ends meet. There’s simply just not enough money saved to buy the blue school uniform that Keza needs to attend school. But there’s still hope! Papa has joined a new group a church where families will work together to meet one another’s needs. Perhaps this will be the year Keza goes to school!
The story of Keza and her father’s savings group was inspired by an actual HOPE Rwanda savings group in Byumba, Rwanda. The Good Shepherds savings group began in 2016 and soon launched a shared painting business, using an old recipe that combined locally-sourced ingredients like cassava flour, ground chalk, water, oil, and dye. The savings group members, as well as the village, have been transformed as, together, they save their money, worship God, and work alongside one another. In community, they’re growing deeper in relationship with one another and generating steady work and consistent income to meet the needs of their families.