Saturday, June 2, 2007

Rwanda Knits...Get Involved

Hope rises up in Rwanda! After years of devastating civil war, Rwanda is rising up with hope through it's women. How so? Through knitting with an entreprenurial spirit.

Rwanda is a small landlocked country in the middle of Africa. Bordered by Uganda, Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Tanzania it is an agricultural land with the highest density population in Africa of 9 million people. Most recently the country has entered into the world psyche through the infamous 1994 genocide between the Hutu and Tutsi tribes that took the lives of over 800,000 people. A vivid depiction of this was portrayed in the historical drama film
Hotel Rwanda. The film is a very riveting and factual account of what happened in the land. Of course there were some fictional characters added for Hollywood's sake but all-in-all very accordant with the true story. Because of this war and the countries history of colonization, Rwanda is very poor.

Recently I stumbled upon the
Rwanda Knits website while searching for some new knitting inspiration. Started in July of 2003 by Cari Clement, then president of Bond America, and with the approval of the USA for UNHCR (United Nations High Commission for Refugees), Rwanda Knits is a project that, "provides hand-operated, American-made knitting machines, technical and business training to Rwandan and refugee women living in Rwanda to enable them to increase their incomes through economically sustainable knitting cooperatives, producing garments for both the domestic and export markets." Rwanda Knits.org.

Under the FA'CED (Fibre and Craft Entrepreneurial Development) Rwanda Knits provides classes and technique training in fiber crafting for over 1,500 women. Some of the refugee knitters even made $3,000 net! That's a lot of money in Rwanda. Heck, it's a lot of money here! Just think about how much farther it goes over there when the normal per annum income is less than $365 (less than $1 per day).

In May of 2005, Rwanda Knits was awarded a grant from USAID totaling $99,000 but that was two years ago and is not enough to help these women rebuild their land's economy from the ground up. Donations of time and especially money are needed. Small amounts help! If you are interested in donating please visit the website here.

NOTE: All pictures shown were taken from the Rwanda Knits webpage and are the expressed property and copyright of that site and it's owners.

Kamika

3 comments:

del said...

Thanks so much for posting about this. I'm going to check out the site right now.

Oh and thanks for stopping by my blog!

TheKnittingBlogbyMrPuffytheDog said...

Dear Kamika,

You did it! With a good night's sleep and your emails I have installed my first Button - yeah! Thanks for your help - I just didn't "get it" until I read your emails a couple of times. BTW, I love Regan - such a classy design. PS I also like Briar Rose Fibers (Michigan) - I have two skeins of their Sonoma yarn that I need project ideas for! Claudia

Sheila said...

Thanks for sharing the info on Rwanda Knits. I will check out the website.