Rwandan Artisans find Peace in Their Art and Each Other

Azizi Life, a new partner of Jesus’ Economy, represents more than 400 artisans and 25 independent artisan groups in Rwanda. One of these independent artisan groups is the Abaharaniriterambere Cooperative. The Abaharaniriterambere Cooperative began with one woman who had a desire to change the world around her.

Immaculee Nyiramuhakwa saw the poverty in her home and community, and wanted to do something about it. She had weaving skills, and knew she could use those skills to do something about her suffering community. She invited a group of women from around her community to come learn to weave and work toward improving their families’ situations. More than 15 years later, Abaharaniriterambere has 26 women and 2 men working to create functional household items from banana tree leaves and stalks.

Fair Trade Brings a Brighter Future

The group’s goal is to develop themselves and their community through their art. The income these artisans receive helps them maintain their business, and also provide for the basic needs of themselves and their families. This means that, unlike before, they have access to medical insurance, school materials for their children, soap and cleaning products, healthier foods for a more balanced diet, farm animals, and financial independence.

There is a lot of time to talk when weaving, and members of this group use their time together to exchange advice and discuss important topics such as women’s rights. They also talk about their dream of opening their own weaving house and expanding their business.

With Immaculee as a leader, this group is determined to continue to better themselves and their community, and to stand strong in Rwanda’s vision for a better future. The artisans at Abaharaniriterambere have found fellowship and encouragement among one another, and have seen peace and happiness grow in their homes.

 Fair trade makes the world a better place. Be a part of change.

Charlotte Van Werven
Charlotte Van Werven


Apprentice in Writing and Editorial for Jesus' Economy