Waxing Lyrical: Bees, Social Enterprise, and Rural Rwanda

How do bees, fair trade crafts, and rural Rwandans connect with one another? In this post, we’ll reveal how ‘Beeutiful Creations’, a social enterprise start-up founded earlier this year, is helping to bring about positive change for those living in poverty, in a pretty sweet way…

As part of Azizi Life’s Impact, the local NGO started by Azizi runs a beekeeping project and incubated a new social enterprise, Beeutiful Creations.  Beeutiful Creations works with groups and individuals through training, business development, and finding a market for the sale of their crafts. The cooperatives that Beeutiful Creations work with produce, among other things, hand-dipped and moulded candles made from 100% pure Rwandan beeswax.  They have recently developed natural beeswax soaps as well as a new range of lip balms.

Sean Lawson, Beeutiful Creations Co-Founder, and Natalie Imanishimwe, Impact Assistant, at a craft fair in Kigali

One of the most popular products is their ‘Raw’ honey, which unlike most honey you buy, is not heat-treated and only loosely filtered.  Why does this matter? When honey is heat treated, it loses a lot of its nutritional goodness, leaving you just with the sugars.  Raw honey is in effect, an antiseptic with natural healing properties. It also contains pollen, which if it’s from your local area will boost your immunity to allergies like hay fever for the following season, as well as antioxidants, antibacterial and antifungal properties that can help soothe a sore throat, digestive issues, and skin complaints.

Bees are small creatures, and yet they are so vitally important to our environment, pollinating the crops and fruits that feed us.  Indeed, 1 in every 3 mouthfuls you eat is pollinated by bees.  Beeutiful Creations protects bee populations by allowing them to swarm naturally in traditional hives, and harvests honey responsibly.

But it’s not just the environment that benefits.  Here is an ‘at a glance’ look at what the group members from the Beeutiful Creations cooperative have been able to do with the additional income from sales:

Grace, a member of the candle-making group.

  • One lady from the group, Julianne, purchased domestic animals as an investment to save for the future.
  • Olive, a widow, also bought domestic animals to breed, to pay for her and her child’s health insurance.
  • Desiree, husband and father to a young child, covered his kitchen with a roof for protection during the heavy rains as well as his family’s yearly health insurance.
  • Valence, father of four, installed a solar power lighting system in his basic mud brick house, meaning that his family no longer breathe in paraffin fumes from a kerosene lamp.  His children can now do their homework safely at night. 

    Beeswax, coconut oil and cocoa butter soap

Sean Lawson, Co-founder of Beeutiful Creations, told us:

“It’s so inspiring to see the willingness of these men and women to take on new challenges, creating quality products and working together to better their futures in a dignifying way”.

The group have been working hard on making 100% pure and natural dipped beeswax candles, and the good news is that they are now available to purchase in the US as well as Rwanda through the Azizi Life website!

Lip Balms come in a range of flavours including Wild Orange, Peppermint, and Cocoa

For more information, have a look at the Beeutiful Creations website: www.beeutifulcreations.org, and ‘like’ the Beeutiful Creations facebook page for regular updates: @beeutifulcreations.

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