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Up Close & Indego

#new, #inspiration, #handmade, #impact

Our Blog

#indegoturns10, #indegodiaries, #inspiring, #impact

Indego Turns 10!

This year, Indego Africa turns 10 (yes, we can’t believe it either!) and we couldn’t be more excited to celebrate! Every day for the past decade, the Indego Africa team has woken up with the collective goal to empower women and support artisans around the world. We wanted to do something extra special to honor our 10th anniversary and celebrate our partners in Rwanda and Ghana-- that’s why we’re sharing a decade of growth, impact, and stories!

We have lots of amazing features, launches, collaborations, and events coming your way this year and we can’t wait to share them with you. To give you a sneak peek (and to get you as excited as we are) we’re including a list of all the fun things to come below. 

For the rest of 2017, keep your eyes peeled for...

- A special 10th anniversary gallery event on July 19th featuring beautiful images and stories from the inspiring refugee women of Akeza Burundi Cooperative at the Mahama Refugee Camp in Rwanda

- The story of Gahembe Cooperative and the #bossladies of our Vocational Training program who have started their own successful weaving business in Rwanda!

- Some very special new items on our ever-expanding baby & kids line (we're talking some serious cuteness here...)

- An exclusive interview with Indego Africa's founder, Matt Mitro

- #firstfriends conversations with some of Indego's earliest artisan partners including women from Cocoki and Twiyubake Cooperatives 

- A feature on our upcoming sewing cooperative in Tamale, Ghana!

- The launch of our brand new Senufo Stool, the traditional designs of the Senufo tribes in Mali and Ivory Coast

- Our special 10th anniversary zine giving you an inside look at a decade of our programs, partners, and impact in Rwanda & Ghana

…and much more! 

Stay tuned by signing up for our newsletter and following us on social media (@indego_africa). You won’t want to miss the exciting things to come!

#impact, #education, #vocationaltraining

National Women & Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day #NWGHAAD

This National Women and Girls HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NWGHAAD), Indego Africa wants to empower women and girls to make the best choices they can when it comes to protecting themselves and others from HIV. That’s why we’ve initiated a Sexual Health Training program for our Vocational Training students in Rwanda!

This past summer, a group of women at the Abasangiye Cooperative in the Kayonza district of Rwanda brought an important topic to light during their first semester of Vocational Training. While the group of Vocational Trainees were learning to sew, they overheard older members of the cooperative talking about their HIV treatment. The young women became worried that they could be infected through pin pricks while sewing and immediately raised their concerns with Indego’s Education Manager in Rwanda.

Through conversations between

our Rwanda team and the Vocational Trainees, we recognized that these young women needed training on HIV prevention and transmission, as well as sexual health education more broadly. They were concerned about their health, specifically about HIV/AIDS, but did not have sufficient information about how to protect themselves.

To address this

critical knowledge gap, we set up Sexual Health Training workshops for all of the young women participating in our Vocational Training program and invited Indego’s older artisan partners to join as well. The course, taught by an experienced female Rwandan health trainer, focused on HIV/AIDS and STI transmission, prevention, and symptoms, but also incorporated lessons on gender-based violence and reproductive health and care. The instructor provided the young women with guidance about how to discuss sexual health with partners and encouraged them to be proactive about “knowing their status” through regular check-ups and blood tests.

The workshop has given

our partners across five different cooperatives (many of whom have never learned about sexual health in an education setting) the opportunity to learn about these topics in a safe and positive environment, to ask questions about their health, and to relay important safety information to their children and families. 

***

At Indego, we believe

true empowerment requires a holistic approach. Today, as we shed light on the impact of HIV and AIDS on women and girls around the world for #NWGHAAD, we want to highlight the success of our Sexual Health Training program in Rwanda with some quotes from Vocational Trainees themselves. 

“I learned a lot from the

training including how important HIV/AIDS prevention is. It’s good to get in the habit of having regular checkups because it helps you make valuable health decisions. It is also not good to exclude people who are HIV positive. Though you might be infected with HIV/AIDS, there is still hope.” –Brigitte, 25, Bravers Cooperative

“It’s so important that we get this training while we are young. The youth are the ones who have a poor  understanding of sexual relations here in Rwanda, especially girls of my age. Many get pregnant or get HIV because they do not have this information.” –Jennifer, 19, Cocoki Cooperative

“The most important thing I learned is how much the HIV rate has increased in Rwanda. I was also very young when I got sexual health training before. Now at Indego, I understand everything.” –Olive, 26, Cocoki Cooperative 

“After completing Indego Africa’s Sexual Health Training, my co-op members discussed and decided that everyone should have their own sharp sewing tools and go to the hospital for regular blood checkups.” –Francine, 28, Covanya Cooperative

“The most important thing I learned is to take care of HIV/AIDS positive people. We should never  exclude them.” –Liliane, 24, Covanya Cooperative 

As we strive to create a world in which young women can reach their full potential, we believe it is crucial to provide women and girls with access to relevant and comprehensive information about their bodies and their health. Indego Africa is committed to continuing and expanding its workshops for young women on HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment, STI transmission, and sexual and reproductive health more broadly. 

Today

and every day, we show our support for women and girls impacted by HIV and AIDS by providing them with the education, tools, and resources to change the world.

#indegodiaries, #inspiring, #iwd

EMPOWERED.

Happy International Women’s Day! While we celebrate women every day (because, hello, there’s so much to celebrate!) we wanted to do something extra-special for this year’s #IWD—something that would speak to our mission of women’s empowerment and show our unwavering support for women’s rights around the globe.

Now more than ever, we are committed to fighting for equality, empowerment, and opportunity for women everywhere. Our brand-new, feminism-forward “EMPOWERED.” sweatshirt represents this commitment (and gives you the chance to be part of it too!)

Hand-embroidered by women in Rwanda, our EMPOWERED. sweatshirt is about confidence and independence. It’s about education and equal opportunities. It’s about that feeling you get when you make an important decision, stand up for what you believe in, or make your voice heard. It’s about communities around the world that are stronger, healthier, and safer because women have rights and choices. It’s about strength in solidarity and global sisterhood. It’s about about whatever empowerment means to you.

100% of the proceeds from our EMPOWERED. sweatshirt will be invested into education programs for women in Rwanda and Ghana. When you rep our sweatshirt, you’ll be repping it in spirit alongside these more than 1,000 #bossladies who are becoming leaders, entrepreneurs, and change-makers in their communities.

In celebration of International Women’s Day, and our new EMPOWERED. product launch, we chatted with some of our amazing partners in Rwanda to hear firsthand what empowerment means to them and how Indego Africa fits into the mix. Here’s what they shared with us: 

“For me, empowerment is the process of working together and learning from other women. It’s the ability to exchange ideas with others and put them into full practice.” – Jacqueline
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“Empowerment means being self-confident in doing anything I want and achieving it no matter what the circumstances. Through working with Indego Africa, I have achieved this self-confidence. Today, I can look for a loan to invest in my business. I know how to work with banks and how to manage my income. I pay for my children’s school fees and support the family along with my husband. I now share my opinions freely with other people, while before I was too shy to speak in public.
I can truly say that I am a role model for other women in my community. All of my female friends are happy and proud of me for the changes I’ve made in my life. Empowering women is important because it impacts all of society.” – Anne Marie
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“I am an independent woman. I contribute a lot to my family—through Indego Africa orders, I’m able to pay their health insurance, school fees, and other basic needs, whereas before it was only my husband who contributed. Today, I even employ someone to work on my farm and have helped him change his life and his family as well. Empowering women is a radical thing to do, because it helps them increase their self-confidence and lift their families and communities out of poverty.” - Henriette

Three cheers to empowered women, and empowering women, around the globe! To shop our EMPOWERED. sweatshirt, and make a difference in the lives of women in Rwanda & Ghana, click here

Happy, happy International Women’s Day! (~Cue the confetti~)