Women’s Initiative International began in 2018 with the mission of freeing women from the shackles of poverty and empowering them to unleash their creativity and God-given talents to make the world a more beautiful place. Our program launched in the Nyabisindu area of beautiful Kigali, Rwanda with 15 women. Under the loving guidance of our country director Susan Sanyu and the artistic direction of national award-winning designer Divine Niyigena, the women thrived and discovered their passion for creating beautiful artisan products. As their self-esteem grew, so did their joy, and ultimately their craftsmanship.
Today our pioneer class of women has graduated from trainees to full-fledged partners in delivering top-quality home goods and accessories straight to your door- no trip to Rwanda needed! Under the new direction of country director Maureen Nirere, our ladies continue to thrive and create the fashionable products that you see right here in our online boutique. Every unique product is created by a woman with a painful past, who now experiences a life of hope. When you purchase our artisan products, you are supporting a woman, her family, and a dream for a better future.
April's passion for missions sparked at fifteen, deepening during a 2017 Rwanda trip as a youth leader. Struck by Kigali mothers' struggles, a divine meeting with Brittany Huffman prompted them to establish a program. This empowers women through skills and hard work, securing stable income and family control. She's a double board-certified integrative nutritionist, running a private women's health practice. April is also mom to three kids - Maxton, Lela and Canon - and has been married to her husband, Tim, for 22 years.
Brittany Huffman is the Co-Founder of WII and has had the privilege of working with this ministry since 2016. Brittany graduated in 2000 from Baylor University with a Bachelor of Business Administration and 2014 with a Masters of Social Work from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. Brittany has traveled to Kigali, Rwanda since 2016 and has fallen in love with the culture and people. Brittany and her husband Brandon have been married for 21 years and have four children in Fort Worth, TX.
VP of Marketing
Emily Perrone discovered her passion for serving the people of Rwanda more than 10 years ago through a Community Bible Study group. Emily graduated from the University of Arkansas in 2002 with a BS in Computer Systems Engineering. She enjoys leading women’s Bible study, graphic design, data management, and photography, all which marry perfectly into her role with Women’s Initiative. Emily is the mother of two children and has been married to her husband Joseph for 18 years. Her desire is that God will use her talents to effectively spread the Gospel, delivering hope and purpose to people around the globe.
Rwanda Country Director
Maureen Nirere, the Country Director of Women’s Initiative International in Rwanda, joined in 2020. Previously, she spent 4 years as a program coordinator for a Rwandan nonprofit, focusing on education for vulnerable children. Holding a Bachelor’s Degree in Molecular Biology and Biotechnology from the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, she's a 2019 Fellow of the U.S. Department of State's Community Solutions Program. Maureen is also certified in Organizational Leadership and nonprofit management from Georgetown Mason University. With a strong Christian faith, she's dedicated to empowering underserved communities, particularly women, through mentoring and life skills training.
US Country Director
Bailey Byrne, US Coordinator for Women's Initiative International (WII), fell in love with Rwanda during her 2012 visit. With a Bachelors in Elementary Education (University of Arkansas, 2020), she's devoted to serving and nurturing the next generation. Bailey thrives on family moments and occasional travel. Her role at WII perfectly aligns with her organizational skills and people-centric nature. She aims to guide others toward God's Word and a deeper relationship with Christ.