One of the most rewarding parts of our work at Local + Lejos is seeing the tangible outcomes of creating jobs, and as a result, opportunities for our artisans. When working on our collections, we seek artisan groups that are primarily women to partner with. In most of the countries we work in, women cannot easily find work, and Local + Lejos was born to provide these work opportunities. In addition to the lack of opportunity, artisan communities experience difficulty selling their work during the off-season from tourism. Many of these artisans live in remote areas, and do not have the opportunity to sell outside of these areas. By connecting these artisans to our customers here, Local + Lejos is able to provide steady employment throughout the year, instead of peaks and valleys. This steady employment transcends into other aspects of the community, by empowering the women to do more.
Our most recent collection, Rwanda, was the perfect opportunity to discuss impact on a deeper level. We realize that impact is a difficult concept to communicate, and it is important to us that we are transparent in how we work. We reached out to our partners to learn more about how the income was being used. The list we received in return was heartwarming. The women were creating better lives for themselves and their families, by investing in sustainable food and entrepreneurship opportunities.
We want to share a few of our favorite examples. Alexia plans to open a shop where her neighbors can buy drinks, rice and sugar. Emmanuelie Musababera plans to buy domestic animals to sell in the weekly market. Emmanuelie Mukamusana is moving from her rented rural home to a nearby community with more resources. Athanasie will be able to finish the installation of electricity into her home. Many women were purchasing farm animals, such as chickens, cows, pigs and goats to provide food for their children. By receiving work, these artisans are using their income to create a better life for the next generation. This collection will pay for school fees for children. It will pay for new uniforms, notebooks and pens. It will pay for transportation to school. As an example, the purchase of one Peace Basket provides enough income for a woman to afford annual health insurance for one family member. These are all important aspects of life for any child and family, and the goal of Local + Lejos is to continue to provide these opportunities.
We will be traveling to Rwanda this May to learn more about the help we can provide, and we will be sure to update you on our findings, and of course, share some pictures! If there is anything else you would like to learn more about, send us an email at [email protected] and we will do our best to answer all your questions.