The other day I received a very special basket in them mail. It is a festive red and white and fits right into the current Christmas season. I can imagine it filled with some colorful Christmas ball ornaments or filled with Christmas cards. It would also be a nice centerpiece for a entry table or coffee table. You may see this in my home and think it is pretty, but you would probably be surprised to learn there is so much more to this basket.
It is actually the Rwanda 10th Anniversary Medium Woven Star Basket. It is sold online and in Macy’s stores as part of the Rwanda Path to Peace program. These baskets, every single one of them represents a journey that they and the women who weave them have been on. The journey is one toward reconciliation.
Macy’s has carried the Rwandan Path to Peace baskets in store and at Macys.com for 10 years. It’s an amazing commitment for an American retailer to make to women in another country. Back in 1994, the tiny nation, no bigger than Rhode Island saw a genocidal mass slaughter. In three short months, nearly 1 million Rwandans were brutally murdered in a fury of ethic violence that is hard to even fathom.
After the massacre, a few women came together and did what women in Rwanda do. They talked, they cried and they wove baskets. These were women of both sides of the ethnic divide, practicing the skills of weaving they all learn from their mothers and grandmothers. When Macy’s began carrying the baskets in 1995, it was the first example of a major American retailer committing to a Trade-not-Aid product line in a substantial way. Macy’s has kept that commitment alive, despite the fact that Rwanda has largely disappeared from the news.
The baskets are available online and in stores and retail for $30-$50. Macy’s offers many 20% off coupons and the wonderful thing is, if you get this item for a discount it does not affect the price the weaver earns for the basket. I hope you take a look at the baskets HERE.
I have to admit I had never heard of this great commitment Macy’s has made to the women of this tiny nation. We are so blessed to live in America and it can be hard to imagine the plight of these women and what they lived through. I am sure they have very deep scars but what Macy’s has done and continues to do gives them a sense of hope, hope for the future, hope to women in Africa.
If you are looking for a gift that carries with it great meaning, these baskets would definitely fit that to a T. It truly is a gift that represents the wish and hope for Peace on Earth and Good Will Toward Women. Do you realize that every basket that is sold will not only provide hope but economic sustenance for a woman in Rwanda. She will use the money to pay her children’s school fees, feed her children and perhaps buy a goat that will help improve her life. Can you imagine the kind of impact the purchase of a red and white basket can make?
Below I hope you will take a few minutes to view a video that shows the history of the Rwanda program.
Rwanda Path to Peace is now the longest-lasting program of its kind, impacting thousands of women throughout Rwanda, their families and communities. With their earnings, women can now send their children to school. They can buy everything from soap to land, malaria nets to health insurance. The income they earn from their handiwork has helped rebuild their communities. One of the first things a weaver does when she sells her first basket is buy soap. The next thing she does is buy shoes and pay school fees. Many weavers today have seen huge improvements in their lives. Below are powerful videos featuring such stories, click on the woman’s name to see a video about her life now.
Every Red and White Basket is the result of a weaving process that has been practiced for centuries in Rwanda. Each basket design is unique and they are painstakingly crafted from sisal and grass by women who learned to weave from their mothers, grandmothers and aunts. If you would like to see how the baskets are made in a special video, click HERE!
Ten years ago many of the thousands of children were malnourished and sick but through this program that has provided food, medicine and education they are now thriving young adults. Many of these young adults have completed school and are entering university. Macy’s commitment to the women of Rwanda means they can have hope for a future.
You will find the Rwanda 10th Anniversary Medium Star Basket on Mommy Ramblings’ 2015 Holiday Gift Guide.
“This post is sponsored by Everywhere Agency; however, all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.“