Oamaruvian attends Rwandan women’s tour

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An Oamaru woman had the opportunity to spend last few weeks in Rwanda to attend an international women’s tour because of her involvement with Zonta Oamaru.

Nicola Mountain was invited to attend the five-day International Women and Leadership Friendship tour via Zonta, an organisation of women working together to advance the status of women worldwide through service and advocacy (all members of the Zonta Club of Oamaru received an email invitation).

Mrs Mountain said the Australian professor who led the tour, Shirley Randell, is an honorary Zontian and the content of the tour fitted with the Zonta mission – to advance the status of women worldwide.

“[I had] a very interesting and inspiring time in Rwanda.”

During her visit, which went from August 29 to September 13, she learnt about how the women of Rwanda have contributed to the rebuilding of their country since the 1994 genocide.

Activities ranged from meetings with members of parliament involved in gender issues to visits to villages and women’s co-operatives.

“I have met a wide range of very friendly, welcoming people, some of whom have shared their traumatic experiences during the genocide and during the healing and reconciliation process afterwards.”

After the tour, Mrs Mountain said she saw wildlife, visited some schools and training centres and experienced village life in Rwanda.

She hopes to use her experiences to creates links between some Oamaru and Rwandan schools and to organise the selling of handmade Rwandan baskets in New Zealand and England.

By RUBY HARFIELD

PHOTO: SUPPLIED

HELPING OUT: Nicola Mountain (centre with white headscarf) experiencing the preparation of lunch in a Rwandan village.