Written by ONE Campus
Zaza Rising is a short documentary film narrated by Christine, an entrepreneur, teacher and mother who runs an all-female bakery in Zaza, Rwanda.
In the film, Christine speaks about the role gender plays in her community. It’s often assumed that girls aren’t capable of work, and Christine shares how her parents used to cry because they never bore a son. To challenge the stigma around gender, Christine worked hard to sell produce and earn an income that could support her through college to get a degree in economics.
After graduating she was still confronted by the ways that stigma and poverty affect the women in her community. So she decided to further challenge these myths about women and work by hiring ten HIV-positive single mothers from her community to run a bakery.
Together, the women bake bread in a safe-space cultivated by Christine that encourages the women to openly share with each other and also enables them to make economic achievements as a unit. She emphasizes that when you work together, you have a higher power.
Despite Christine’s efforts to be a role model and to offer her employees opportunities for growth, issues like the health of her employees threaten the success of her business. To date, the bakery has lost three of its employees to AIDS and paid for the funeral costs because the women’s families had rejected them due to their health status.
Moments like these are still too common in many places around the world, which is why ONE’s work towards ending extreme poverty includes treating preventable diseases through actions such as ensuring that world leaders maintain their funding commitments to the Global Fund.
So what does Christine need to ensure the success of her business and the future of the women who run it? Her solution is education and we can’t agree more.
Lack of access to quality education, especially among girls, is preventing millions of people from escaping the cycle of extreme poverty. Christine’s bakery moves beyond selling bread — now, its goal is to raise enough funds for its seven employees to go through an intensive business education program.