AS THE MARKETING AND DEVELOPMENT DIRECTOR OF BELAY GLOBAL, CASSY MEISENHEIMER ENJOYS HELPING IMPROVE THE LIVES OF RWANDAN WOMEN
by JENNIFER JORDAN | photo by MOLLY MINTER
The saying, “God is in the details” has been attributed to more than one person, and it’s usually intended to show that a benign force has brought something to fruition. For Cassy Meisenheimer, however, God literally is in the details of her new career. As the Marketing and Development Director of Belay Global, Cassy helps Rwandan women rise from difficult circumstances to build new lives. Over the course of the last few years, God worked a plan that led Cassy to this vocation
Since May of 2015, Cassy has happily stayed home raising her sons, John Henry,
age 7, and George, age 5, and enjoying life with her husband, Fred. Experience as a mother taught her “patience, grace, joy, peace, and being content in the moment you are placed.” “I am grateful for every gift that every day gives me, and I feel the same way today,” she shares. In September 2017, Cassy saw a social media posting for the position at Belay Global, and felt that she should apply for it. Cassy had previously met the organization’s executive director at a women’s conference in 2015 and had traveled to Rwanda for a mission trip in 2016. Submitting a resumé for the marketing position sparked a quick succession of phone calls and video interviews, leading to a job offer on Halloween, and then three weeks in Rwanda. On November 1, Cassy began a job that took her 8,000 miles across the Atlantic to meet colleagues and the women she would be helping through Belay Global.
Belay Global is a non-profit Christian organization that is dedicated to helping Rwandan women create sustainable solutions for their lives. Through financial, emotional, and spiritual support, Belay empowers women who want to improve themselves and their families. “Our aim is to train, mentor, and disciple female entrepreneurs based on Biblical principles, which will bring about community development and economic growth,” Cassy explains. This signature program is called “Duhugurane, meaning ‘Let us learn from each other’ in Kinyarwanda, but we refer to it as Duhu.” Upon completing the eight-week entrepreneurship training, the young women receive business coaching and test their business plans in the marketplace. Once the women are established, they can qualify for a lending and investing program to grow their businesses. “Our second program is a social enterprise ministry called DuHope that reaches out to vulnerable women who desire to leave sex work. DuHope creates a safe and holistic way for women to exit sex work while walking alongside them in faith, hope, love, and dignity. We equip them with jobs, jewelry-making skills, workforce readiness skills, counseling to care for their wounded past and help guide future choices, spiritual development, on-site childcare, literacy training, meals, and more.” Cassy’s specific duties include working in the United States with donors and partner churches across the country, cultivating new donors and partnerships, and coordinating marketing material.
Cassy credits working at Four States Living Magazine for over 10 years with giving her the skills to take on her new position. “My relationships, guidance and growth I had at my time there have shaped me to do many different things. I learned to have confidence and not be intimidated when meeting and contacting new people or attending something alone. My eyes were opened to things I had never seen or known before that was for the better. I was trusted with the task to do my job and do it well without someone having to hover over me. I was taught to think outside the box and be creative.”
Cassy extends these lessons to her experiences in Africa. When she works from home in Texarkana, she engages in planning, phone calls, emails, webinars, and much more. When she works in Rwanda, the modern luxuries of air conditioning and easy access to clean water are not available. “Clean water does not come from any sink, so you have to make sure to purchase clean water to drink or use, and we bucket flush the toilet at our office because we do not have running water,” Cassy remarks. “We have to purchase Wi-Fi one gigabyte at a time from a kiosk up a hill, so you are able to get in plenty of walking. The power flickers off and on throughout the day, because you can only use so many things at one time.” These daily challenges fade, however, when compared to the rewards of meeting and learning about Belay’s clients. Cassy explains how the DuHope women come to Belay with minimum literacy skills that most Westerners take for granted, such as writing their names and using a ruler. Yet, these impoverished women are learning life skills, earning an income with dignity, and overcoming obstacles from their wounded past.
Cassy also shares the story of a woman named Florence from their pilot Duhu program. Florence began with just $83 capital and now employs other women in her thriving business. Florence went from not being able to provide food for herself to creating a sustainable business and able to help others in need.
Working in two radically different environments has given Cassy perspective both to appreciate American conveniences and to admire women who persevere to
provide for themselves and their families with dignity. What a wonderful role model Cassy is for her own family—trusting in the Lord and giving of herself to improve the lives of others. God still remains in the details, weaving Cassy’s story in the way only He knows.