Several years ago, the local parish of the Catholic Church in Gisagara District, a southern province in Rwanda, chose several vulnerable children to participate in a year-long program to learn how to basket-weave and in turn provide for themselves and their families. Each of the participants were orphans who were also charged with taking care of their younger siblings and/or elders. Among these children were Sixbert, Media, and Clementine (pictured above).
When their training was complete, and now that they were adults, the three friends decided to join their skills together to build a business. They formed the Amizero Cooperative and are now part of Azizi Life, a partner of Jesus’ Economy. Azizi Life, a fair trade organization dedicated to working with artisans who receive fair wages for their labor, represents 25 independent artisan groups throughout Rwanda. The income the creators earn helps them maintain their businesses and provide for their families, including now having access to medical insurance, school supplies, healthier foods, and financial independence. Azizi Life is transforming Rwandan communities through artists like Sixbert, Media, and Clementine.
A few years ago, Sixbert and Media got married, and now they are building a family. With the money they have earned from their business, they have been able to construct a home with electricity and water for their family, and Clementine has been able to buy land locally.
Sixbert, Media, and Clementine’s specialty is creating home goods from hand twisted banana twine. Leaves and stalks of banana trees are a renewable resource in Rwanda, and if they are woven skillfully, the products will be sturdy and last for many years.
Together Sixbert, Media, and Clementine are running a successful business, and it is their togetherness and their craft that is leading them toward amizero: hope.