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Rwandan Basket Ornament

Item # 44795
In Stock

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Outlet! Was $14.95!

These finely crafted, delicate basket ornaments are modeled after the traditional form of baskets from Rwanda. Baskets have served many functions in Rwandan history including holding food, celebrating weddings, and carrying secrets from one woman to another. Our miniature baskets are made from natural fibers, utilizing a technique that has been practiced for almost a thousand years.

Rwanda, a tiny and extremely poor country in the lakes region of East Africa, is sadly best known for a devastating civil war in 1994. Handicrafts such as these baskets form a major source of income for Rwandan women. The baskets are a testament to the strength of the proud Rwandan people and their commitment to weaving a lasting peace.

Since peace is something we hope for year-round, we offer these compact, handwoven baskets not only as a Christmas ornament, but also a daily reminder of the quest for peace.

Your ornament includes a quotation from someone who has dedicated his or her life to peace, such as "We belong to each other" (Mother Teresa), or a Rwandan proverb, such as "The stick that has whipped your rival should be thrown away."

For bulk pricing on these and other items, please contact our Customer Service department at customerservice@greatergood.com.

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Artisan: Gahaya Links

Artisan Gahaya Links

In the tiny, land-locked country of Rwanda, ravaged by the 1994 genocide that created hundreds of thousands of widows, hope might seem hard to come by. But this conflict-ravaged place is also the home to Gahaya Links, a company with a vision of peace between Hutus and Tutsis, of employment and income for female heads of household, and of a brighter future for all.

Gahaya Links was founded in 2003 by Joy Ndungutse and Janet Nkubana, two sisters who have found that the way to weave straw into gold is through fair trade. Gahaya Links works with 54 cooperatives throughout Rwanda, employing thousands of weavers, most of whom are women. Each cooperative is run by a democratically elected president, secretary, and treasurer -- literacy is the only requirement -- and each cooperative is structured so that Hutu and Tutsi weavers work side by side, promoting reconciliation as the country struggles to come back from its long nightmare.

"Our main achievement is seeing how the women we work with have changed from how they were [directly post-genocide] to how they are now." --Joy Ndungutse

Joy Ndungutse's designs are taught to master weavers from each cooperative, who travel to the headquarters in Kigali to learn new designs and techniques as they are decided upon. The master weavers then return to their cooperatives to teach the other weavers, thus fostering leadership and community as well as guaranteeing standardized quality.

In addition to the weavers' salaries, Gahaya Links puts one dollar into a savings account for each basket completed. The mandatory savings program has enabled the weavers to buy more nutritious food, pay for their children's education, obtain medical care, and afford to wear shoes. None of these things were possible on their previous incomes.

Through their dedication and work, Joy Ndungutse and Janet Nkubana have created a flourishing business that is "weaving lasting peace," as their slogan states.

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