the artisans

There is more to these artists than simply their crafts.

They are parents and grandparents, they are farmers, they are friends, and they are role models. They laugh and bring laughter; they cry and comfort those around them; they live life and impact their communities in a unique way. These groups of remarkable women and men are supporting and coaching one another in their craft and in their lives as a whole. They have become our friends, and it is our pleasure to introduce them to you here.

Abaharaniriterambere (formerly Abahuzamugambi) Cooperative

  • Abaharaniriterambere means People Fighting for Development Cooperative.

  • Abaharaniriterambere’s artistic specialty is creating functional household items from banana leaves.

  • Abaharaniriterambere works in the beautiful Nyaruguru District.

  • Currently, the artisans of Abaharaniriterambere work in the local schoolyard, but they dream of building their own weaving house.

  • The group has about 28 members, two of whom are men.

Abarikumwe Association

  • Abarikumwe means People Who Are Together Association.

  • Abarikumwe works in the Cyeza community (a Child Development Program community of FH) in Muhanga District.

  • The group has about 10 active members, all women.

  • Abarikumwe’s artistic specialty is weaving with sisal fibers.

Abarikumwe Association 2

  • Abarikumwe’s artistic specialty was weaving bowls and baskets.

  • The group had about 17 members, all women.

  • Abarikumwe worked in Ruhango District.

  • Abarikumwe means People Who Are Together Association.


Abibumbye Cooperative

  • Abibumbye means People Who Are Together Cooperative.

  • The women have been working together since July of 2008.  Their membership is now around 18.

  • The artisans of Abibumbye dream of having their own workshop and market to work in.

  • Abibumbye primarily makes coin purses, ornamental balls, and the Caramel Twist Pot.  Group members also have skills in beading and crochet.

  • Abibumbye works in Muhanga District.


Abihuje Association

  • Abihuje means People Who Are Together Cooperative.

  • The group purposes to fight against poverty and improve their standard of living through weaving.

  • Abihuje’s artistic specialty is weaving sisal fibers.

  • The group has about 12 members, all women.

  • Abihuje works in Kamonyi District.


Abizeranye Association

  • Abizeranye means People Who Trust One Another Association.

  • Abizeranye’s artistic specialty is weaving bowls, baskets, and earrings.

  • The group welcomes new members, as long they have weaving skills or are willing to work hard to learn the craft.

  • There are about 17 members of the Abizerane Association, all women.

  • The women of Abizeranye have future goals of connecting with a large sustainable market, and of beginning a project cultivating mushrooms .

  • Abizeranye’s weavers spend about one full day weaving a small bowl, and 2-3 days on a larger bowl.


Abumurava Cooperative

  • Abumurava means People Striving for Excellence Cooperative.

  • Abumurava’s vision is to work together in order that the members may develop themselves, increase their standard of living, and reduce their financial dependence on others.

  • The group has about 30 members, all women.

  • Abumurava’s artistic specialty is weaving sisal fibers.

  • Abumurava works in Muhanga District.


Agaseke k’Amahoro Association

  • Agaseke k’Amahoro means Peace Basket Association.

  • The group has about 120 members, 40 of whom are weaving actively.

  • Community: The group weaves together in Rusatira, Huye District.

  • Artistic Focus: Weaving grass baskets.

  • Vision: To promote peace within and outside their group as they practice their art for their livelihood.


AVEKI Widows’ Association

  • AVEKI Twisungane means Let’s Be Together Widows’ Association

  • About eleven widows comprise AVEKI Association.

  • AVEKI’s purpose is to fight against poverty and to develop their families without having to always have to ask for financial help from others.

  • AVEKI’s artistic specialty is weaving from natural sisal fibers.

  • AVEKI works in Muhanga District.

CPEFO Amizero Cooperative

  • CPEFO Amizero means Hope Cooperative

  • The four young weavers of the group are all heads of their households.

  • The group members were trained in a year-long vocational education program run by the local Catholic Church.

  • CPEFO Amizero Cooperative works in Gisagara District.

  • The beautiful handbags you see in CPEFO’s group photo are available through!


Fredric Nyandwi & COASINYA Cooperative

  • Fredric Nyandwi is a sculptor who trains young men in the art of woodcarving.

  • Between 2009 and 2011, Fredric trained 13 apprentices.

  • Fredric specializes in carving beautiful decorative items for the home.

  • Fredric and his graduated apprentices have formed COASINYA Cooperative.
  • These woodcarvers work in Nyaruguru District, just south of Butare town.

Ibyishimo Joy Sewing Association

  • Ibyishimo means joy

  • This sewing association was founded in June 2011.

  • The group is comprised of 11 seamstresses and 1 tailor.

  • Ibyishimo Association meets at the Vineyard church in a rural area just outside Rwanda’s capital.

Inganzo Association

  • There are five men in Ingazo who specialize in woodcarving.

  • Inganzo’s workshop is on the grounds of the local Catholic Church, in the Cyeza Community (a Child Development Program Community of FH) in Muhanga District.

  • Inganzo means Water Source Association.

  • Inganzo’s artistic focus is wooden figures significant to faith or Rwandan culture, such as nativity sets or statues of Rwandans in the midst of daily life.


Ingobokarugo Cooperative

  • Ingobokarugo means Helping Our Homes Cooperative.

  • Over 30 women are members of Ingabokarugo weaving Cooperative.

  • The weavers’ financial independence has improved their relationships with their husbands and enabled them to contribute to their households.

  • Ingabokarugo’s artistic specialty is weaving ornamental baskets.


Kanguka Association

  • Kanguka Mutegarugori means Wake Up, Women! Association.

  • Earnings in 2009 enabled the Kanguka women to buy health insurance for their families.

  • Kanguka’s artistic specialty is weaving small ornamental baskets.

  • About 13 women are members of Kanguka.

  • Kanguka works in Muhanga District.


Kundagaseke Association

  • Kundagaseke means Basket Lovers Association.

  • The women of Kundagaseke see their purpose as being to fight against poverty and develop themselves.

  • 17 women are members of the Basket Lovers’ Association.

  • Kundagaseke’s artistic specialty is weaving traditional Rwandan baskets from natural sisal fibers.

  • The members of Kundagaseke use their weaving time to discuss unity, culture, and reconciliation.

Paul Nzabonimpaye’s son, Hezekiah Kwihangana

  • We are sad to share that Paul passed away suddenly in his home on October 13, 2011.

  • Paul had over 40 years experience in woodcarving.

  • Wooden birds, carved gift boxes, and natural gourd rattles were Paul’s specialty.

  • Paul’s birds were carved primarily from the wood of the Jacaranda tree.

  • Paul passed on his wood carving skills to his son Hezekiah, who is the 6th of Paul’s 7 children.


Petronille Uwimana

  • Petronille Uwimana is a mother of 4 and grandmother of 9.

  • She learned to craft musical shakers in 1990 from a neighbor.

  • Petronille uses gourds grown in her garden to make her shakers.

  • In the future, Petronille would like to earn enough money from her craft to purchase a second cow.

  • Petronille is involved in the local pentacostal church and sings in the choir.

Pierre Ntivuguruzwa

  • Pierre is a young husband and father of one.

  • Pierre specializes in carving abstract birds and wooden earrings.

  • Most of Pierre’s work is carved from the Jacaranda tree.

  • Pierre carves at his home in Muhanga District.


Twisungane Association

  • Twisungane means Let’s Be Together Association.

  • Eleven orphans make up the Twisungane Association.

  • The members of Twisungane Association have been trained in banana leaf crafts to provide an income to care for their families.

  • Among the group’s goals, they wish to one day own their own workshop and have sustainable, large orders.

Twisungane Potters’ Association

  • This small group of potters are also members of the same family!

  • Eric and Francine are married with four young sons.

  • Eric’s father Faustin and his wife Jeannine are potters also.

  • With the income from their craft, Eric and Francine have built a simple home for their family.

  • Keep your eye out for Twisungane’s simple bird candle holders and aromatic diffusers in our Bazaar packages.

Twivane mu Bukene Cooperative

  • Twivane mu Bukene means We Come Out of Poverty.

  • The women of Twivane mu Bukene specialize in banana leaf products.

  • This group makes photo frames and placemats for our Bazaar packages.

  • The weavers of Twivane mu Bukene work together not only to get out of physical poverty through their craft sales, but also to support and encourage one another in all of life.

Zamuka Cooperative

  • Zamuka Mutegarugori means Women Progress Cooperative.

  • Zamuka works in the Rugendabari community (a Child Development Program community of FH) in Muhanga District.

  • The group has almost 30 members, all women.

  • Zamuka’s artistic specialty is weaving bowls.