The Craft Group that we get our crafts from Rwanda
The group is made up of 12 Ladies. They are widows and orphans who lost their families during the Genocide in 1994. During the Genocide, the killers were not only killing people but also taking their belongings and destroying their houses. Before the Genocide all these people were living with their families in different parts of Rwanda, not necessarily in Kigali. They didn’t know each other.
After the Genocide, when they were widowed and orphaned, they were not comfortable to live again in their former places because the people who killed their family were mostly their neighbors. That’s how they ended up coming to Kigali In addition that they had nowhere to live since their houses were destroyed.
Getting to Kigali, in 1995, life became a challenge for them. They were all traumatized, with no hope to live at all. But they had to eat, they had to get somewhere to live, some had children that they had to look after.
The first two met before and shared the stories and came up with ideas of what they can do as an income generating activity. They realized that they can do some handcrafts and sell them. They started with their limited skills but they could make a few things and sell them. That was in 1996. They have met other people with same life stories and included them in the group and trained them in what they were doing.
They started selling their products locally in Rwanda. Then they met Callum Henderson and other Scottish friends in that process, who started to come close to them. Praying for them, listening to their stories and giving them a word of comfort have helped them so much in the healing process. Comfort Rwanda groups keep visiting the group on regular basis every year, and buy their products as a way to support them. The group was improving both spiritually and physically.
Through sharing their stories, with the friends that they could trust helped them to achieve the total healing of every member of the group. They have improved much in their production because they have been learning from other crafts cooperatives and importing new skill
All of them have skills to make everything that is in the catalogue, but everyone has special skills to make something different from that of her colleagues. So whenever they work, everyone knows what she is in charge of.
In normal days, they meet two days every week to make their products, but on the other days everyone is doing different things for their own family. When they have orders to get ready they meet every day and work together as a group.
They work at one of the houses of one of the members but everyone will also work at home at any time.
Their lives has totally changed, some were able to buy homes and to pay the school fees for their children.
They are now one of the most successful projects of widows and orphans in Kigali.