Founder and Executive Director
Sara Stender is the Founder and Executive Director of Africa Healing Exchange. When she arrived in Rwanda in 2009, she immediately felt at home, and fell in love with the nation and its people. Sara lived in Kigali, working to provide vocational training to young adults who had lost their families in the genocide. As she built relationships with many Rwandans, she was witness to the deep suffering that often manifests as depression, anxiety, stress, addiction and substance abuse, and physical pain related to trauma. Sara was, and continues to be, in awe of the high level of resiliency, strength, and courage that permeates daily life in Rwanda. When she moved back to the U.S., she knew that there was a great partnership and exchange to be had between Americans and Rwandans, in order to work together to help end the global crisis of generational transfer of trauma. Sara is inspired by solutions-based, positive psychology, and has experienced personal growth through adversity. She holds a Master of Science degree in Organizational Management, with a concentration in Leadership and Change. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Simmons College where she majored in Business Management and French, and for the past ten years has held leadership positions in both the for-profit and nonprofit sectors. She started her first business at the age of 23, led the movement to make Brattleboro, Vermont the second Fair Trade Town in North America, and served as the first National Coordinator of Fair Trade Towns USA. Sara was chosen as a finalist for the prestigious international Echoing Green Fellowship award, is one of Diversity Journal’s national list of Women Worth Watching, and was selected to serve as a juror for the 2015 Peace Project global grant selection committee. Sara is based in Asheville, North Carolina and is originally from Vermont.
For more on AHE’s founder check out her article in WNC Woman, Social Entrepreneur to Change the World and take a look at her personal website and blog www.sarastender.com.