This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
Macy’s Rwanda Path to Peace 10 Year Anniversary!
With the holidays quickly approaching, this is the time of year that everyone wants to help others. I found it the perfect time to share about Macy’s unwavering commitment to Rwanda Path to Peace 10 Year Anniversary. They are celebrating their Path to Peace program with a commemorative basket, woven to represent 10 years of peace and prosperity.
The basket that I received is so beautiful and well made that I don’t even want to use it. I will hang it on my wall in our new home and be reminded of the work that goes into making these baskets. Each basket comes with a Certificate of Authenticity and signed by the artisan.
The Rwanda Path to Peace Program is not a charity, but a business initiative where all sides are incentivized to keep it going. It is the longest-lasting program of its kind, impacting thousands of women throughout Rwanda, their families and communities. With their earnings, women can now send their children to school. They can buy everything from soap to land, malaria nets to health insurance.
Some Facts About Rwanda Path to Peace:
- The weavers earn roughly ten times the average Rwandan wage.
- The weaving of the baskets is an extraordinarily intricate process that has been practiced for centuries in Rwanda. Each design is unique and painstakingly crafted from sisal and grass by women who learned to weave from their aunts, mothers and grandmothers.
- Thousands of children who were malnourished and sick a decade ago have had ten years of food, education and medicine, thanks to this program, and are now thriving young adults. Many have completed secondary school and are headed to university.
- The partnership between Macy’s and the artisans has helped the women move from deprivation and uncertainty to a life where they can plan their futures, and build stable, healthy lives by creating the traditional art that was handed down by their mothers and grandmothers. The weavers say that they have experienced the worst possible pain, through war, and want to send their message of peace, through their baskets to the world. Macy’s has given them a pathway to do this.
When you look at the gorgeous hand-woven baskets sold on line and in Macy’s stores as part of the Rwanda Path to Peace program, it’s easy to see them solely as objects of beauty. It’s hard to imagine the journey the baskets and the women who make them have been on. In fact, each basket represents a journey towards reconciliation.
In 1994, we in America were totally unaware that a mass slaughter was taking place in Rwanda, a tiny country in the heart of Africa. In just three months, nearly a million people, 20% of the nation’s population, was massacred when tribal hatred between the Hutus and Tutsis turned into ethnic slaughter. Neighbor killed neighbor in one of the worst genocides in human history.
After the violence ended, many Rwandan women found themselves thrust into the unfamiliar role of being sole breadwinners for their families, since their husbands, fathers and sons had been killed. Others saw their husbands jailed for committing unspeakable atrocities.
Despite this savage history, Rwanda today is a country of both hope and faith. Even though their physical and psychological wounds were fresh after the genocide, many women embraced an opportunity to heal. Weaving baskets became a way forward and a way towards peace. Women from both sides of the ethnic divide came together, wove baskets, and created an industry, which today supports thousands of Rwandan women and their families.
Rwandan women and their families. One American woman who vowed to make a difference helped the Rwandan women – social entrepreneur, artist and activist, Willa Shalit. In 2005 Shalit showed the baskets to executives at Macy’s who committed to sell them and to go into business with the weavers in Rwanda. Macy’s offered them a hand up, not a handout.
Now is the perfect time to start your holiday shopping by purchasing a Rwanda Path to Peace Handmade Basket at Macy’s and help make a difference in the lives of the weavers.
Listen to one woman’s story:
Which Basket will you choose?
Topic: Macy’s Rwanda Path to Peace 10 Year Anniversary!