When Rwandan drummer and playwright, Odile Gakire Katese met Jennie Dundas, co-founder and co-owner of Blue Marble Ice Cream at a workshop at the Sundance Institute, her social justice dream was born based on an unlikely product we can all feel pretty good about: ice cream.
Odile had a vision to empower her all-women drumming group back home in Rwanda through business skills development and the transformative power of entrepreneurship. Ice cream seemed the perfect vehicle, and Blue Marble Ice Cream co-founders, Jennie Dundas and Alexis Miesen, the perfect partners to help enact this vision in Rwanda. Still living with the aftershock of the 1994 Rwandan genocide, Odile explained to Jennie that she believed ice cream was exactly what her country needed in both healing and growing as a community, peacefully: “Ice cream is the embodiment of the small amount of joy in a person’s day”.
In 2008 Odile partnered with Blue Marble Ice Cream to create the Blue Marble Dreams nonprofit – just two years later, Inzozi Nziza (Sweet Dreams in English) was born, becoming the first women-founded, locally-sourced ice cream shop in Rwanda.
Jennie, Alexis, and Odile understand that ice cream alone won’t solve the post-traumatic stress of a post-genocide community. But it can help – and that’s the kind of innovation in nonviolent response we’re excited about.