Meet the local woman connecting Minneapolis to the Jewish community in Uganda


We all love to travel, and we all love to do meaningful work in the world. But how often is it that we’re able to combine those two experiences?

For Joanne Trangle, the answer is every day. As the owner of Select Treks and the founder of Global Village Connect, a non-profit organization, Joanne organizes trips for everyone from students to retirees to make real connections with communities all over the world and perform sustainable, community-driven service projects with them.

 Global Village Connect's (GVC) partnership with the Minneapolis Jewish Federation makes the upcoming Global Experience to Uganda one such trip. 

 “I had been traveling most of my life, and Africa was near and dear to my heart,” Joanne says. In fact, her youngest son was adopted from Ethiopia eight years ago.

Soon after, Joanne started Global Village Connect. East Africa was at the top of Joanne’s list of places to work with, and as she made connections with the Ugandan community in Minneapolis and abroad, she was introduced to the Jewish community of Uganda—the Abayudaya.

 “I went and visited them, and of course once you visit a Jewish community there’s that similarity no matter where you’re from,” she says.

Since then, Joanne’s connections with Uganda have only grown. Her twins were bar mitzvahed in Uganda, and their mitzvah project was inspired by the community there.

 “All the projects we do stem from the community’s needs,” Joanne says. “The kids wanted to do something for kids. The rabbi said, ‘let’s give goats’ and the Give a Goat project was created."

 Beginning with her son’s mitzvah project, Joanne’s and Global Village Connect’s involvement grew in the Abayudaya community. Global Village Connect works to provide children the world over with two essentials: education and food. From that mission, Global Village Connect began two school lunch programs in the form of organic farms at the Buppala and Buyanga Primary Schools in Uganda. This year alone they have served approximately 253,000 lunches.

 The school lunch program for the Jewish school, Tikkum Olam Primary School, is the project Uganda Global Experience participants will tackle when there later this year.

 “Everything we do, we try to do so schools and communities are self-sufficient and resilient,” says Joanne. With these school farms, “the goal is for each to become self-sufficient after five years.”

 The partnership with The David Tychman Global Experience Program at Minneapolis Jewish Federation is an opportunity to continue the long-term relationship with the Abayudaya. The Give a Goat project, started by Joanne’s son Dante Reminick, lives on in this trip, as each participant will have the opportunity to give a goat to a child in need. The goats provide nourishment in the form of milk and income in the form of selling the goat’s future offspring. The cost of the goats was included in the Global Experience trip pricing.

The kitchen Uganda Global Experience participants will help finish

The kitchen Uganda Global Experience participants will help finish

Participants will also be working on building the kitchen for the Tikkun Olam Primary School, made possible by a grant from Federation’s Women’s Endowment Fund, continuing the work that Global Village Connect is doing with making school lunch, and therefore schooling, accessible for students.

 “We hope that we’ll have other people getting involved in the community and in these projects,” says Joanne. “Because there’s always a need.”