Rwanda Path to Peace: “Trade, Not Aid”

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Sometimes special review opportunities come my way, and thanks to my friend Danielle, at Simmoworks Family Blog, I had the opportunity to learn about a wonderful cause, and add a beautiful handwoven basket to my home.

sweet grass basket

By shopping at Macy’s, you can help support two campaigns very near and dear to their heart and help countries be able to sell goods and become self sufficient instead of having to accept aid. Heart of Haiti and Rwanda Path to Peace are these programs.

Discover new hope and beauty in Rwanda. These exquisite, one-of-a-kind baskets are designed to improve lives and enhance yours, putting real, sustainable income into the hands of the women who weave them. Enjoy as fruit bowls, wall art or table centerpieces.
Naturally dyed sisal coil-sewn over bundled sweetgrass
Hand-woven in Rwanda
12″
Because each bowl is a unique work of art, variations in size and color will occur
Includes a numbered Certificate of Authenticity
Artisans receive half the wholesale price for each item sold

I love sweetgrass baskets, I’ve actually owned a number of them over the years. All of mine came from Charleston, South Carolina, so when I opened the box containing my beautiful basket from Rwanda, childhood memories came flooding back. The familiar smell, the beautiful hand woven basket in it’s tight, circular pattern, the beautiful colors – all of it.

If cared for, this basket will lat for many years, and I’ll be able to pass it on to my children. The story of the artist in Rwanda will continue on when I give the basket to them.

Rwanda Path to Peace is a healing journey and a source of sustainable living that utilizes the incredible skill of weaving that is passed down by generations of Rwandan women. These women have seen their neighbors and their families destroyed by genocide and ethnic cleansing, leaving many of them broken and hopeless, lost in a country where women are considered second-rate citizens because of their gender. Although the genocide was over a decade ago, the recovery from a tragedy of this magnitude is a constant struggle. The sale of the baskets through Macy’s has given these women a source of sustainable income and pride.

The project and the income it generates has improved the lives of at least 18,000 children, providing access to education, health care and more. The weavers are now able to pay school fees, purchase essential supplies and provide shoes and clean uniforms. They can even afford kerosene and candles to provide light in the evening so children can complete their schoolwork.

Weavers are also able to meet their children’s health and nutritional needs, and perhaps most importantly, they now have affordable health insurance and access to medical care when they need it.
Beyond the obvious benefits of scholastic supplies and health care, the children in weavers’ communities are benefiting in a number of less tangible ways. They feel immense pride in their mother’s ability to provide for them, praising them to friends and telling classmates that their mother’s baskets sell in America. The children are also enjoying strengthened relationships with their fathers who look after them while their mothers weave. The strong, cooperative relationships being forged between women and men are providing excellent examples for the future.

These women are warriors and have found a way to restore hope and love among their communities and families with the sale of their baskets. The baskets are a symbol of strength and courage among the Rwandan women who weave them. For more info go to www.Macys.com/Rwanda

Macy’s has been doing interviews with the basket weavers. Here is a link to recent interviews.

Want to read other reviews for Rwanda Path to Peace and Heart of Haiti from the Noise Girls? You’ll find the links below.

Simmworks Family Blog
Fabulous Finds
The Frugal Greenish Mama
Life as Leels
Laughing Lindsay

Disclosure: I received a gift from Macy’s in exchange for this post. I have permission to share information about Rwanda Path to Peace and the opinions here are my own. No other compensation was received.

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Comments

  1. Jill A. Collins says

    I love these baskets and I love the cause. I’ve always wanted one for my home. They are such a beautiful piece of artwork.

  2. Amy Cates says

    I love that this is giving the weavers communities a way for a better life. Way to go Machete for helping give these communities a hand up and a brighter future.

  3. Mary Beth says

    What a fabulous story of hope and endurance! I will be sharing this on FB for sure.
    Thank you for a meaningful review – Not just products, but a way to support this worthy cause.

  4. Hannah C says

    Wow that is so amazing! This is such a beautiful cause and the idea of the baskets is just wonderful. I didn’t know there was a story behind those baskets when I saw the giveaway but now that I know, I want the basket even more! It’d surely be treasured.

  5. Lisa Sliwa says

    Of all of the ways that people can empower each other, lighting the pathway that allows women who have experienced great oppression to sustain themselves and provide for their children is of the utmost value. I will make a point of shopping at Macy’s – thank you for posting this story.

  6. Maryann says

    How wonderful that Macys is helping in this project this is helping the women of Rwanda to be self sufficient and have a source of income. The baskets are beautiful and show much pride in their work.

  7. Jessica O says

    These baskets are beautiful! The workmanship that goes into them is amazing and knowing the love used to make them and the awesome cause these are helping with makes them so much better!

  8. Margie Kairis says

    This is such an important initiative that Macy’s is supporting! I love how the women who make these baskets receive half of the wholesale price of the baskets and thus receive a sustainable income from their sale. It is so true that those who are poor and needy truly want and need the fishing rod, not the fish. Weaving and selling these baskets through the Rwanda Path to Peace program gives these African women and families the opportunity they need to provide for themselves and create a better future for their children by providing the income that will make school supplies and even health care more affordable.

  9. Nicole Sender says

    Thank you Macy’s for promoting such a great program. I think this is such a wonderful idea! The bowls are beautiful.

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