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An initiative started by Rwanda’s First Lady connecting 17 local women jewelry producers to US and European markets, has turned them into business managers.

First Lady Jeannette Kagame (First row middle) with Same Sky graduates
First Lady Jeannette Kagame (First row middle) with Same Sky graduates

The women are members of Rwanda’s association of Genocide widows (AVEGA). For the past seven years, they have been making local jewelries and supplying them to Europe and US through Same Sky a cause-based trade initiative.

Same Sky secures deals from US, Australia, Denmark and others to supply jewelries and then sends materials to the Rwandan widows to make them and get paid.

At least every widow earns Rwf 10,000($13) daily depending on volume of production.

“The business does not come very often in a year, but when it comes, we take four days to produce one jewelry each,” Thérèse Mugorewera, told KT Press.

Same Sky which brings in the deals earns between $20 to $100 from a single jewelry made in Rwanda.

Most of the jewelries include necklaces, arm bands and ear rings among others depending on specifications of the order.

The widows use the income from this initiative to cover most of their family and personal needs.

However, Same Sky has trained the widows on skills including; cooperative organization, loan management, designing business plan, computer literacy and many others.

“We were used to spending on only food and home equipment. We are now thinking business,” said Clementine Nyirahabimana, from Kimihurura Sector, Gasabo district.

The training was conducted by Indego Africa, a nonprofit organization that empowers women in education and entrepreneurship.

“When you train a woman, you train a whole nation,” Benjamin Gasamagera, the chairman of Private Sector Federation told News of Rwanda.

Gasamagera said women put 90% of their earnings into the family investment, compared to estimate 40% of men earnings.

In an event attended by Rwanda’s First Lady Jeannette Kagame, Mugorewera and her colleagues were today awarded a certificate of accomplishment by Same Sky.

Same Sky Founder Francine LeFrak says their choice to work with Rwanda was motivated by country’s good policy towards women.

“There is no other country in the world where over 60% of parliament seats have gone to women. We also know several other initiatives that promote the vulnerable women in Rwanda,” she said.

“This makes women to be proud of their country and we wish to bring our contribution to that cause.”

The ladies who have been supplying locally made jewelries to US and European markets say the sky is the limit.

“We are now equipped with basic skills that will enable us save what we are already earning, and to use it for other projects,” says Mugorewera, mother of five.

They were proud of the skills obtained
They were proud of the skills obtained
First Lady with Francine Lefrak of Same Sky
First Lady with Francine Lefrak of Same Sky

Source: News of Rwanda