Apr 29, 2009

Love it! - Macy's Rwanda Path to Peace Project

A year ago I first posted about Macy's philanthropic effort, "Rwanda Path to Peace Project" bringing shoppers exquisitely woven baskets handmade by Rwandan genocide survivors. I just received an email announcing the launch of this season's newest baskets, just in time for Mother's Day! With a larger selection of sizes and color combinations, helping other women earn an honest living, sustain themselves and their family is a gift in itself.

"Established to create a viable, sustainable business that provides economic stability, the Rwanda Path to Peace project promotes an environment of peace to positively impact the future of Rwanda’s eight million citizens. Willa Shalit, an American businesswoman, has spearheaded the four-year effort to develop an American market for Rwandan women’s crafts. Shalit believes that women helping each other can change how Rwanda rebuilds its society, empowers women, and sustains economic security beyond traditional forms of assistance.

Focusing on trade, not aid, the export and sale of these baskets has put real, sustainable income directly into the hands of Rwandan women, most of whom are heads of households and were previously living on less than $1 a day. This income has visibly changed the lives of the weavers in remarkable ways by providing food, shelter, medical care, education, and other necessities, while also imparting a great sense of pride and self esteem. Rwanda has never exported their fine crafts on this scale before. There are now over 2,500 weavers across Rwanda, including both Hutu and Tutsi women, from both sides of the 1994 genocide. These women sit side by side as they talk and weave together, slowly healing themselves and their society."

www.macys.com/rwanda - $35 - $120

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