This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.
I was just 13 years old when the Rwandan genocide began; I was preoccupied, daydreaming about college and getting my driver’s license, completely oblivious to problems going on in a tiny country in the heart of Africa. Nearly one million people were massacred during one of the world’s worst genocides; many of the killings were neighbor against neighbor. Hatred between Hutus and Tutsis resulted in the loss of nearly 20% of the country’s population. It wasn’t until I was in college that I really learned about the genocide in Rwanda, and I began to truly fathom how hard life could be in developing nations.
When the violence came to an end, families had been torn apart. Many of the men were either dead or jailed for the crimes they committed, and the women were often solely responsible for providing for their families; it was a role that they hadn’t prepared for.
The Macy’s Rwanda Path to Peace program was born from tragedy. The women needed to financially support their families, and they had the ability to handcraft beautiful baskets. Basketmaking is a centuries-old practice that had been handed down for generations. An American artist, activist, and social entrepreneur, Willia Shalit, recognized that the intricate baskets could provide regular wages for the women in Rwanda. Shalit showed the baskets to executives at Macy’s who committed to working with the women and selling the baskets. The Macy’s Rwanda Path to Peace Project is a business initiative launched in 2005, aimed at helping working women rebuild their lives in Rwanda.
The baskets are numbered and signed by the artisan who made it. The craftsmanship is exquisite. They make wonderful gifts, especially for someone who is socially conscious. The basket weavers earn an average of 10 times the typical wage for women in the same area. This basket is a treasured keepsake in my home. I’m really looking forward to receiving my 10th anniversary commemorative Macy’s Rwanda Path to Peace basket in the next few weeks. I’ve included a photo courtesy of Macy’s of the 10th anniversary basket, and you can check out is link to view more.
I love to hear the women explain how these baskets are made in the video below:
The quality of these baskets is astonishing.
The manufacturing of the Rwanda Path to Peace baskets has provided 10 years of food, medicine, bed nets, and education to the children of the basket weavers. They’re definitely a purchase that you can be satisfied with and feel good about.
Have you started your holiday shopping list yet? Might these might make the perfect gift for someone on your list?