Last month, mBLOG began a series with Janet Nkubana, the founder of Gahayna Links, which partners with Macy’s for the Rwanda Path to Peace project. Through her endeavors, she helps bring the women of her country economic empowerment through the art of basket weaving. Here, Jeanne Uwimpaye, one of the weavers, tells her story of how the organization has changed her life...
I’ve been weaving baskets since I was 9 years old when my mother taught me the art just to keep me busy. Little did I know that one day my art would be my livelihood.
In 2002, life took a tragic twist, and I found myself alone with two children. I was penniless and unable to provide food for my children. Knowing that your children must go without food is impossible to understand. On occasion, I worked on a farm in exchange for something to feed their hungry mouths.
The year 2005 marked a time of renewal for me. I began selling my baskets to Gahayna Links and Macy’s. Earning income restored my dignity, and today, our lives have improved. My children go to school, we sleep on mattresses, and a new iron roof has replaced the old thatched one. Tending to a goat and my own garden has also helped produce additional income.
I would like to extend my heartfelt thanks to everyone who purchases Rwandan baskets at Macy’s. Without your love and support, my story would have been very different. Please continue to support us by buying our baskets – each one woven with gratitude.
Rwanda Path to Peace Collection is available in select Macy’s stores and on macys.com