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Happy International Women’s Day!

Happy International Women’s Day! Today we are celebrating one of our newest artisan partners and favorite all-around-awesome woman, Josepha Mujawayezu. Josepha is the talented weaver behind our brand-new collection of mini raffia peace baskets. A mother of seven (!) and aspiring entrepreneur, Josepha first learned the art of weaving in the 1980s at a vocational school in Northern Rwanda. Despite her immense skill, for years she worked tirelessly on her own, struggling to scrape by with few customers for her products. 

Without a steady source of income, Josepha often resorted to peddling her products on the street, something which on several occasions got her into trouble with the police. She describes that period of her life as filled with fear—fear that the police would arrest her; fear that she would not be able to provide for her family. 
We began partnering with Josepha in the fall of 2015, and we are so excited to see how much has changed for her since then. For starters, she’s no longer working on her own. With steady orders coming in for her products, Josepha has hired and trained 10 other women to work with her. In fact, they are banding together to form a cooperative, something which Josepha hopes will get them more local (and international!) business down the line. 
Josepha is excited about all these changes too. She told us: 
I’m excited because I have been receiving orders. I no longer have to be scared of the police and am building new skills by working on different Indego Africa sample products. Plus, registering as a cooperative has helped me become more confident because I had to interact with government officials. 
Josepha is also excited to be working with other women. She enjoys training them in new artisan skills and is happy to be able to provide younger women with the economic opportunities she wishes she once had. She says she now feels empowered: 
Being empowered to me means having the ability to provide for my family and myself without having to ask my husband. I earn an income and can pay for my children’s school fees—I can feed them, clothe them and even afford health insurance. 
We are so inspired by Josepha’s years of hard work and perseverance and are happy to see them finally paying off. On International Women’s Day, we are proud to celebrate a woman who has not only overcome a great deal of obstacles in life, but is using her newfound opportunities to empower and uplift others. Her spirit of generosity, collaboration, and mentorship is commendable and a strong testament to the power of women working together and supporting each other. 
Cheers to Josepha and to women around the world working towards better futures and lifting each other up along the way!

To shop Josepha's hand woven products, click here