Artisans

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 partners, and it is our pleasure to introduce them to you here.

Abaharaniriterambere Cooperative

Banana leaves and stalks become beautiful and functional household goods through hand craftsmanship. Abaharaniriterambere means People Fighting for Development, and the weavers of this cooperative are determined to use their craft to lift their families out of poverty and contribute to their community. [highlight]We use our time together not only to weave and exchange advice, but also to discuss important topics such as women’s rights.[/highlight]
19th August 2016/by Web Master

Abahuje Cooperative in Byimana

The women of Abahuje Cooperative are aiming to be the best weavers they can be by always improving the quality of the bowls they create. Several members of the group have already made improvements to their homes by installing electricity, solar lamps, new wood stoves, etc, and the group now hopes to construct a small building for their cooperative. [highlight]We are a group of women who are improving our homes through selling our woven bowls through Azizi Life.[/highlight]
28th November 2016/by Kath McGuire

Abakundamurimo Association

In their youth, the women of Abakundamurimo learned to craft through a vocational training program for vulnerable children at the local Anglican church. Today, they continue to earn income by harvesting dried leaves from their banana trees and creating mosaic greeting cards. [highlight]In the hands of the artisans, tiny pieces of the banana leaf’s fine surface become mosaic images from Rwanda.[/highlight]
30th November 2016/by Kath McGuire

Abarikumwe Association

The women of Abarikumwe are skilled farmers, excellent weavers, and delightful Experiences hostesses. One of Azizi Life’s first artisan partner groups, Abarikumwe has grown together with us, with much laughter along the way. The Abarikumwe artisans specialize in weaving jewelry from natural sisal fibers. [highlight]We are honored to introduce you to the creators of the very first Azizi Life Experience Day![/highlight]
29th November 2016/by Kath McGuire

Abibumbye Cooperative

This group of over 20 women work together as a family to support each other and develop their skills. Since working with Azizi Life they have been able to buy annual health insurance and pay the school fees for their children. [highlight]We hope to gain income that will help us to maintain better lives and say goodbye to poverty forever.[/highlight]
28th November 2016/by Kath McGuire

Abihuje Cooperative

The founders of Abihuje began with the hope that if they joined their strength and knowledge together, they could work towards a solution to their poverty. As they began to work together, the group not only grew in skill, but in friendship and mutual support. The women of Abihuje specialize in weaving Rwandan Sisal Peace Baskets.[highlight]With fair wages from their weaving and the strength of their friendships and faith, the women of Abihuje are raising their families out of poverty.[/highlight]
29th November 2016/by Kath McGuire

Abizeranye Cooperative

More than 4554 stitches are hand woven into every medium bowl. And with every stitch, the artisan had her family in mind. With her fair wage income, she provides for the wellbeing of her household in the Rwandan countryside. [highlight]Nourishment, health, education, and dreams for a bright future- your basket holds much love.[/highlight]
29th November 2016/by Kath McGuire

Abumurava 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. Through Azizi Life's nonprofit organization, the members have chosen to buy stoves which use less firewood. The weavers of Abumurava hope one day to have a cooperative house and a plantation of sisal for weaving. [highlight]We welcome visitors for Experience days and like to share our skills in weaving sisal fibers.[/highlight]
28th November 2016/by Kath McGuire

Agaseke k’Amahoro Cooperative

The artisans of Agaseke k’Amahoro weave Traditional Grass Peace Baskets. The cooperative, born from the turmoil of the genocide, is comprised of neighbors from both sides of the conflict, working together for peace and reconciliation. Their vision is to promote peace within and outside their group as they practice their art for their livelihood. [highlight]“We must continue to work for wholeness.
We must continue to pray for peace.”
- Pascasie Mukamuligo, President[/highlight]
28th November 2016/by Kath McGuire

Atelier Marie Raphael

In the hands of an artisan, banana branches which have sloughed off the tree become used to create something beautiful. Using only a razor blade and glue mixed with cassava flour, artisans cut tiny pieces of the surface of the leaf and glue them into patterns of beauty. [highlight]Banana leaf mosaics beautifully adorn our greeting cards. [/highlight]
30th November 2016/by Kath McGuire

AVEKI Widows’ Cooperative

The members of AVEKI Widows’ Cooperative meet weekly to weave natural sisal fibers into beautiful baskets and household items. With their craft, the women are fighting against poverty and developing their families without having to always have to ask for financial help from others. With the fair wage income from their weaving, they have been able to buy annual medical insurance for their families. [highlight] We hope that in the future, each member will be able to own a cow and to pay school fees for her children.[/highlight]
28th November 2016/by Kath McGuire

CPEFO Amizero Cooperative

The three young artisans of CPEFO Amizero have two main things in common. The first is their background of poverty and struggle. As youth, Sixbert, Media and Clementine were orphaned and became heads of their households, caring for younger siblings and elders. But the members of this small cooperative also hold something else in common: [highlight]Together, we are determined to use our craft for income and the betterment of our families.[/highlight]
28th November 2016/by Kath McGuire

Duteraninkunga Cooperative

The weavers of Duteraninkunga began as members of a savings and loan group who discovered that many had skills in weaving. Those weavers taught others in their group, and eventually a weaving cooperative was born. [highlight]With strength and endurance, Duteraninkunga weavers craft baskets larger than most weavers have ever made in their whole lives![/highlight]
28th November 2016/by Kath McGuire

Emile Twagirimana

Emile, who learned carving from his father, has a gift for creatively taking a new idea and bringing it to reality. [highlight]In the hands of an artisan, discarded cow horn is repurposed and transformed into things of beauty.[/highlight]
30th November 2016/by Kath McGuire

Francine Mukamabano

A householder and skilled potter, Francine uses traditional techniques to craft clay products like candle holders and piggy banks. [highlight]Clay dug from the valley, potted and fired with centuries-old methods, yields pottery with a distinctive tan, rust and black finish.[/highlight]
28th November 2016/by Kath McGuire

Frederic Nyandwi & COASINYA Cooperative

Fredric Nyandwi is a sculptor who trained young men in the art of woodcarving. Those young men now have the skills necessary to use their craft to support families of their own. [highlight]Bringing forth images from the trunk of a tree, these artisans have the power to add beauty to the world through their craft.[/highlight]
28th November 2016/by Kath McGuire

Hezekiah Kwihangana

Hezekiah learned woodcarving from his father, and in turn, he desires to teach other youth to carve. Creating beautiful birds ornaments and mobiles, Hezekiah is able to help support his mother and siblings since his father’s death. [highlight]Hezekiah’s birds are carved from the branches of the Jacaranda tree, which regenerates itself with continued growth after it has been cut.[/highlight]
28th November 2016/by Kath McGuire

Ibyishimo Joy Sewing Cooperative

Since 2011 the members of Ibyishimo Sewing Association have been providing for the education and nutrition of their children. As they sew, they discuss marriage and life, advising and encouraging one another.[highlight]With foot pedal-powered sewing machines, seamstresses create beautiful goods from colorful market fabric.[/highlight]
28th November 2016/by Kath McGuire

Inganzo Cooperative

Inganzo’s artistic focus is wooden figures significant to faith or Rwandan culture, such as nativities or statues of Rwandans in the midst of daily life.[highlight]On a hill near my father’s home and next to my twin brother, I have built my own home with my income from wood carving. – Sylvere Maniraguha[/highlight]
28th November 2016/by Kath McGuire

Ingobokarugo Cooperative

The Ingabokarugo “Helping Our Homes” Cooperative is made up of more than twenty women who endeavor to contribute to the livelihoods of their families through weaving. These artisans also are much-loved hostesses of Azizi Life Experiences guests. [highlight]Our financial independence has improved our relationships with our husbands and enabled us to contribute to our households.[/highlight]
28th November 2016/by Kath McGuire

Kanguka Cooperative

Priska Kanakuze is the founder of the Kanguka Cooperative. She has passed down her weaving skills and Priska’s daughter Redempta is also a member of the group. [highlight]When I was in the hospital about to have my first baby, I was scared. But then I remembered that it was Wednesday delivery day and at Azizi Life, my friends would be gathered together, praying for me. Then I felt assured and strengthened to bring my baby boy into the world.[/highlight] - Redempta
28th November 2016/by Kath McGuire

Kundagaseke Cooperative

Kundagaseke’s artistic specialty is weaving traditional Rwandan baskets from natural sisal fibers. The weavers’ primary desire is to connect with customers – a large and sustainable market – so that their weaving can provide a consistent income for them and their families. The members of the group also hope to keep progressing so they can follow their individual dreams: like paying tuition for their children to go to school. [highlight] Our purpose is to fight against poverty and to develop ourselves.[/highlight]
28th November 2016/by Kath McGuire

Petronille Uwimana

A widow with 4 children and 9 grandchildren, Petronille has been creating musical shakers from natural gourds for more than 20 years. The income from her shakers provides for her family. [highlight] In the future I would like to earn enough money from my craft to purchase a second cow.[/highlight]
28th November 2016/by Kath McGuire

Pierre Ntivuguruzwa

Pierre began woodcarving at the age of 13 in the hope of being able to raise his standard of living and avoid having to beg for money. He uses branches from the flowering Jacaranda tree to craft wooden birds. [highlight]Jacaranda is a fast-growing tree which regenerates itself after being cut- a renewable resource![/highlight]
28th November 2016/by Kath McGuire

Twisungane Association

The eleven orphans who make up the Twisungane Association have been trained in banana leaf crafts to provide an income to care for their families. They make a wide variety of banana leaf designs and continue to grow and develop their skills. [highlight]We wish to one day own our own workshop and have sustainable, large orders.[/highlight]
28th November 2016/by Kath McGuire

Twitezimbere Agaseke Cooperative

29th November 2016/by Kath McGuire

Twivanemubukene Cooperative

The weavers of Twivanemubukene work together not only to get out of physical poverty through their craft sales, but also to support and encourage one another in all aspects of life. The women care for one another and help each other with loans from the group for urgent needs, and increased income which enables them to purchase food, soap, clothing, and school supplies. Guests rave about their Experience Days with Twivanemubukene artisans! [highlight]Every week, we each make a contribution to the group, which is used for members in need.[/highlight]
28th November 2016/by Kath McGuire

Zamuka Cooperative

The women of the Zamuka cooperative are focused and determined. They are determined to be excellent weavers. They are determined to support one another. They are determined to build a strong foundation for their cooperative, their families, and their community. The income from weaving means that they can invest in the health of their land and their families. [highlight]As a result of our weaving, our children have increased access to nutrition, health, and education.[/highlight]
28th November 2016/by Kath McGuire