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Alphonsine was born the second of eight children but today she is the only remaining child—her parents and all of her siblings were killed during the 1994 genocide. Left without support, she was forced to drop out of school and provide for herself.

In 2010, she and 24 other women banded together to form Abasangiye: a sewing cooperative comprised of women with children born of rape during the genocide. She is now the cooperative’s internal auditor and dreams of opening her own boutique someday.

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Beatrice is the Secretary of Gakamba group, part of the Imirasire cooperative known for its vibrant and intricately woven plateau baskets.

Before joining the Imirasire family, Beatrice worked for many years as a primary school teacher, providing a crucial service for a generation of children whose education had been violently disrupted by the 1994 genocide. 

In 2003, she was selected to become a community educator for the Gacaca jurisdictions—a transitional justice system that was created to address the massive buildup of cases awaiting trial following the genocide. The Gacaca courts were comprised of village councils that conducted public trials aimed both at trying the accused and fostering country-wide reconciliation.

Beatrice joined Imirasire in 2007 and has worked there as a weaver ever since. She uses her income to support her four children and hopes to own a farm someday.



We never cease to be inspired by the women of our partner cooperative Twiyubake, and Jacqueline, its president, is no exception. She is a mother of six and plans to open her own boutique someday. But when Jacqueline does something, she wants to do it right. That’s why she hopes to travel Europe and America and research how successful businesses run there, using the lessons she learns to build her own thriving enterprise.

Jacqueline’s dreams are no small feat, particularly given the hardships she has overcome. Twiyubake is comprised of genocide widows who work side by side with the wives of men who killed their husbands. Before banding together as a cooperative, many of these women lived in abject poverty, struggling to obtain basic necessities like food, clean water, and shelter. But through their courageous decision to leave the past behind them, to value forgiveness over enmity, these women have built new and prosperous futures for themselves and their families. Today, they are flourishing entrepreneurs, and their beautiful and intricately woven banana leaf products have garnered widespread admiration and success. They are paragons of strength, setting a remarkable example of what reconciliation and unity can look like. 

#artisans, #inspiring


In honor of remembrance, progress, and hope we will be featuring special posts about our artisan partners throughout the month of April. We invite you to share in their stories.

Domitille’s laugh can be heard cascading over the hills and echoing through the trees that surround the Hope cooperative, the knitting association of which she is the president. A graceful and self-assured woman, her vibrant smile is nothing short of contagious and her positive energy radiates throughout every room she enters.

While today Domitille is a pillar of confidence and strength, she was not always this way. In fact, her journey to get here was arduous and beset with significant obstacles to overcome.

Only a few years ago, Domitille’s economic circumstances were dire: her family lacked permanent housing, often went hungry, and owned just one piece of clothing each. Her husband was violent and beat her daily, forbidding her to leave the house without his permission, and isolating her from the other women in her community.

However, when her cooperative began partnering with Indego Africa in 2010, her income started to increase. She soon found herself able to buy a house with electricity, feed and clothe her family, send her son to school, and even set aside enough money to invest in a new business of her own.

In her words: “my life really and fully changed . . . I am now a well-to-do woman, with middle income. I can eat what I want, wear what I want. I am confident, independent, and self-sufficient. I think back to what I was like only a few years ago and I do not recognize myself. And that is a good thing.”

Domitille’s economic success engendered newfound confidence and she began to think hopefully about her future. At home, she started to challenge her husband’s control over the household and to call the police whenever he tried to beat her.

Today, her husband’s abuse has stopped and Domitille has become an informal counselor to other women who suffer from domestic violence. She is a respected leader and a powerful role model to the women and girls in her community.

#artisans, #community

20 Years Later |  A Message of Remembrance & Hope

Today the world recognizes the 20th commemoration of the Rwandan genocide, when over 800,000 people were killed over 100 days of unimaginable violence. Our hearts go out to the victims, their families, and all those who continue to grapple with the horrors that took place.

As we pause and remember, we also want to send a message of hope—hope grounded in the remarkable and awe-inspiring progress Rwanda has made since the dark days of 20 years ago. We wish to commend our artisan partners who, through their resourcefulness, perseverance, and steadfast determination, have become engines of change in their communities and helped rebuild their country. We admire their courage and bravery, and share in their unwavering hope for even brighter futures to come.

Below are the inspiring words of Rosine Urujeni, Indego Africa’s Country Director, reflecting on what the 20thcommemoration of the genocide means to her:

"It is a time to remember our loved ones (kwibuka) that we never knew or hardly knew because they were taken from us abruptly and for no reason. It is a time to reflect on what is wrong and what is right; what our actions and words mean to others; and what impact we have on our community and country. 

As Albert Einstein said 'We cannot despair of humanity since we ourselves are human beings.' It is a time to remember that we are the masters of our lives and that our actions will last forever. We shall never forget to keep faith and to hope for forgiveness for those who committed acts of inhumanity.

The 20th commemoration of the genocide means that as human beings we must continue to work for the common good and to uplift ourselves and our communities. We shall never forget that as human beings, we must strive to do what is best not only for ourselves, but also for others.”

In honor of remembrance, progress, and hope we will be featuring special posts about our artisan partners for the rest of the month. We hope you’ll continue to check back here and share in their stories.