Join hands and gather your tribe

One stick is easy to break, but twenty sticks, bound together, are strong.

Rwandan Proverb

I often travel in the Developing World as part of my work with the Foxglove Project. I have the opportunity to work with women making their way out of poverty in ways that provide for their children and extended families. It’s wonderful.

And I have noticed, that regardless of the country I am visiting, one of their first gestures of friendship is ‘holding hands’. Irrespective of whether we are sitting in conversation, walking to their homes or workplaces, or standing to listen to another, they take my hand. It is one of those gestures that says so much: acceptance, connection, unity, hope.

Recently I was sitting with a group of women in Rwanda. In an open field on a mountain in rural Nyamagabe. We were laid out in a circle and as we started to talk, and without hesitation, the women around the group took one another’s hand. Until it was a closed circle with me caught up in the middle.

It was a metaphor of strength and commitment to one another. No words were needed but a Rwandan proverb popped into my head;

“One stick is easy to break, but twenty sticks, bound together, are strong.”

About Kelley

Kelley is a speaker, author, overseas aid worker and perpetual student. She is passionate about women and gender issues, both in the local and international context, which underpins her enthusiasm for kinwomen and its contribution to women ‘living their finest life’. In 2014 Kelley completed a Masters in International and Community Development before establishing The Foxglove Project. Foxglove is a registered charity focused on supporting international development projects that are sustainable and driven by indigenous leadership. Kelley’s paid work requires her to travel extensively to evaluate and support projects supported by Australian funds. This experience and networking enables Foxglove to partner with outstanding overseas agencies delivering real opportunities for the poor and vulnerable to lead independent self-determined lives. Kelley combines these passions with a love of family and faith. Across more than 30 years of marriage, Kelley and her husband have worked through many of the challenges of building a relationship while raising three sons. Their boys have now finished high school changing the dynamics of family life and relationships. One of her great joys is sharing parenting lessons and learning from good and bad (sometimes disastrous) experiences. She uses humour and common sense to talk about the everyday challenges facing parents in today’s context.