December 01, 2017
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Support Refugee Artisans This #GivingTuesday
Our Economic Inclusion Program for Refugees provides 50 women at a time with onsite training in artisanal weaving and the business education they need to generate income and rebuild their lives in dignity and peace.
Over the past 10 years, Indego’s market-based education model has helped empower thousands of women artisans across Africa.
This #GivingTuesday, help us strengthen our impact with refugee artisans.
100% of your donation will support Indego’s Economic Inclusion Program for Refugees at the Mahama Refugee Camp in Rwanda.
Over the past 10 years, our team has worked hard to empower artisan women in Africa through employment opportunities and business education. To get an exclusive perspective on our programs in Rwanda and Ghana, we asked our Country Directors, Rosine Urujeni and Louisa Adu, what makes Indego’s model and mission so relevant in each of their communities.
Rosine Urujeni (pictured right)
Rwanda Country Director
Rosine joined Indego Africa in 2012 after studying international law in Geneva and leadership in the U.S. A former prosecutor for the High Court of Huye in Rwanda, Rosine left law in search of an organization with a mission to uplift Rwandan women and help them become more confident, self-reliant, and economically-advantaged. Indego Africa was the kind of organization she was looking for to make a direct impact on society. Since joining Indego, Rosine has been essential to growing the Rwanda team and providing training and employment opportunities to the people across the country.
Louisa Adu (pictured left)
Ghana Country Director
Louisa was inspired to join Indego Africa in 2015 because of her love for handmade products and passion and devotion to helping women lift themselves out of poverty. A women’s empowerment and health care advocate, Louisa previously taught soap-making, sewing, and entrepreneurial skills to socioeconomically marginalized women in Ghana’s northern region. Today, she works to showcase the talented work of Indego’s artisan partners and help transform the lives of Ghana’s next generation.
From your perspectives as Country Directors, what has been Indego’s most pivotal moment?
Rosine: For me, Indego’s most pivotal moment was when we started investing in our education programs in Rwanda, particularly when Vocational Training and Technology Training for the Workplace were created. By investing in youth who face tremendous issues of unemployment because of a lack of technology and soft skills, Indego is able to fill a much-needed gap.
Louisa: I think Indego’s most pivotal moment was when we launched Vocational Training in Ghana this past March. It has been incredibly satisfying to watch these young women eagerly pursue a course that I know will completely transform their lives. Indego’s Vocational Training program is of crucial importance to developing young people and empowering them to be change-makers in their communities.
Looking back at the last 10 years, what has been the most inspiring moment for you as Indego’s Country Directors?
Rosine: One of the most inspiring moments for me is when I see an intern become empowered and later become an employee. I also love to see Vocational Training students finish their training and either launch their own business or work at the same cooperative they were trained at as full-time, contributing members.
Louisa: A standout moment that comes to mind is when Indego established a straw basket weaving cooperative in Kumasi. There were a lot of challenges in terms of culture and location, but despite the odds, we were able to partner with a group of brilliant women who were willing to make the cooperative a reality. Today, this cooperative still works with Indego! Its members continue to perfect their skills to meet the demands of the international market.
What do you think makes Indego Africa so impactful?
Rosine: Creativity, innovation, trust, communication, and mutual respect.
Since I joined Indego Africa in 2012, we have been consistently growing and refining our program activities, with a special concentration on capacity building and vocational training. The Indego team prides itself on the strong relationships we have with our cooperatives partners based on trust, communication, and mutual respect. Over the years, Indego has made a powerful impact on the lives of artisan women and youth in Rwanda. Many of these women are now able to afford their children’s school fees, renovate or build houses, pay for medical insurance, and much more. Our partners are also becoming more creative and innovative in their businesses every day, and that is something I am really proud of.
Louisa: Indego Africa’s education programs.
Indego’s Basic Business Training program has been commended and applauded by many artisans. These participants continually express how much the training sessions have helped them successfully establish and run their own businesses. It has also encouraged them to refine their skills so that they can work with international organizations like Indego and compete in the international market.
What are you most looking forward to in Indego’s future?
Rosine: Indego Africa’s education programs empower artisans to become entrepreneurs who know how to better manage and grow their own businesses. I am really looking forward to assisting our partner cooperatives in Rwanda achieve their potential while putting into practice what they have been learning through our education programs. I know that with Indego’s on-site assistance, this potential can be achieved and Indego as a global organization can flourish. Moving forward, the entire Indego Africa team is excited to grow its programs for youth and empower generations of Rwandans to come.
Louisa: I look forward to seeing Indego grow and expand its skills-based Vocational Training in Ghana. I’m excited to offer more young people, especially young women, the opportunity to lift themselves and their families out of poverty, and be leaders of change and entrepreneurship in their communities.
We love supporting Handspun Hope, an organization that is not only changing women’s lives, but also creating 100 percent made-in-Rwanda products with a beautiful story behind every stitch.
That's why we're excited to introduce a new line of kids' knits, made from 100 percent organic, merino wool and photographed on the granddaughters of the knitters themselves!
At the Handspun Hope cooperative in Musanze, Rwanda, women spin local sheep’s wool into 100% organic merino yarn. The artisans first clean and untangle the wool and then feed each strand into a spinning wheel, making one ply of yarn at a time.
Once the yarn is ready, the women dye it by hand, often using local plant, flower, and vegetable material—like eucalyptus leaves, local flora, avocado, and onion skins—that they often pick on their way to work in the morning. The final result is soft, high-quality merino yarn that is naturally-made, beautifully-dyed, 100 percent organic and eco-friendly from start to finish.
Our new line of knit sweaters, vests, and accessories for kids were photographed on the farm where they were made, featuring the green hills of Rwanda, and adorable lambs and angora bunnies!
Shop our new line of handspun knits for kids here.