Real life superheroes restore hope and give people strength. They are bright rays of light in the midst of darkness and fear. They use the best of who they are and what they have to make a positive impact.
A sea of white tents- temporary housing for new refugee arrivals- sits beneath a backdrop of mountains, perched above the clear water of the Akagera River on the border of Tanzania. The Mahama Refugee Camp in Rwanda is home to 57,000+ Burundian refugees fleeing political unrest, violence, and government persecution. Formed in 2015, it is the youngest and most densely populated camp in Rwanda.
Today, an unprecedented 65.6 million people around the world have been forced from home because of persecution, conflict, violence, or human rights violations. Among them are nearly 22.5 million refugees.
After fleeing violence and insecurity, the opportunity to work and earn a living is one of the most effective ways refugees can rebuild their lives in dignity and peace.
Since 2016, Indego Africa has provided 100 female refugees at Mahama with the vocational training, business education, and international market placement they need to achieve long-term economic security for themselves and their families. These women formed their own artisan cooperatives, Akeza & Umuco, and continue to partner with Indego to create beautiful, handwoven products for purchase.
In November 2018, Indego Africa will bring its Economic Inclusion for Refugees program to the Kigeme Refugee Camp in Rwanda and provide 50 Congolese women with the livelihood opportunities they need to grown their own artisan business.
The Kigeme Refugee Camp sits on a hill in the southern province of Rwanda dotted with small mud shelters, roofed with iron and old plastic sheets. This is the home of 20,000+ Congolese Refugees who left the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2012 desperately fleeing fighting between government forces and rebel militias. It is smaller than Mahama, more run-down, but the need remains the same. More than half of these refugees are women in of sustainable, wage-earning employment opportunities.
Our refugee partners arrived in Rwanda having lost nearly everything. What they had no lost, they left behind in search for a better future and a safer home. The decision to leave was not an easy one. Many had to leave family members behind who could not travel or refused to join. Although many have found security in the camp, they continue to make unimaginable sacrifices.
In spite of this, these women are full of grace. From conflict in Burundi and the DRC to crowded camps in Rwanda, our refugee partners have worked hard to overcome incredible challenges and create brighter futures for themselves and their families.
They've embraced the communities we've helped them create.
They are proud of the work they do.
They have future goals - to return to their home country, purchase land together, and build craft businesses there.
These women embody the strength and hope of real life superheroes. We are honored to be a part of their stories and eager to help empower even more refugees at the Kigeme Refugee Camp.
All of us can create change with our hands and with our hearts but, like the women of Akeza, Umuco, and Kigeme, we need each other. These women may have arrived at their camps empty-handed, but we want them to return with their hands full - able to create change for themselves and their families
We are continually inspired by the hope and resilience of our refugee partners, and are thrilled to share that beautiful inspiration with you. To support Indego's work with refugees, and empower real life superheroes across Rwanda, shop our limited-edition Mahama Print.