Sunday, 1 November 2009

Same sky, reconciliation and rebuilding communities in Rwanda

Marrakech, Morocco

Bridget Bailey, who is active in the charitable organization Same Sky, has been staying with us over the last few days. Same Sky is a trade-not-aid initiative that helps Rwandan women who are living with HIV/AIDS, a tragic result of the widespread sexual abuse during the Rwandan Genocide of 1994. The majority of these women are destitute, and the goal of Same Sky is to help them rebuild their lives and communities. One way to achieve this is to give the women an opportunity to earn an income that allows them to provide food, education and healthcare for their families. In the case of Same Sky, the products sold are glass bead bracelets hand crocheted by women artisans in Kigali, Rwanda. Effective production and marketing are guaranteed by Gahaya Links, a small business created by two sisters, Joy Ndungutse and Janet Nkubana. Gahaya Links, which is supported by Global Relief and Development Partners, now employ over 4,000 rural women who weave intricate baskets that are sold in department stores such as Macy’s in New York. Through this initiative, Tutsi and Hutu women can work side by side, contributing to ethnic reconciliation and community building in Rwanda.

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