All Across Africa
Artisan Organization: All Across Africa
Seraphine is 45 years old and lives in Rwanda, a country still deeply reeling from the echoes of the 1994 genocide, but rebuilding itself with unquenchable hope and progressively finding its way towards stability. Seraphine lost her father when she was 7 and was forced to leave school to learn the art of weaving in order to help bring in some income for her family. In 1990, she married and had 7 children, which meant she had to continue to work in order to provide for all of them. It took many years for her to find enough work, but she finally came to work with All Across Africa in 2011.
For Seraphine, weaving with All Across Africa opened a world of opportunities not just for herself and her family but also for her community. Weaving baskets provides her with steady income which has allowed her to have a voice in her marriage and experience an equality that is uncommon in rural Rwanda. Not only can she now provide food and clothing for the family, but she can also send all seven children to school and build a home for her disabled mother in law. Her steady income also has a significant impact on her community: she can employ neighbors to work the land, hire transporters for her baskets to be brought to the packaging centre and support local vendors at the marketplace because she can afford to purchase good food more often. Because she is now a cooperative leader, her leadership impacts over 300 other women’s ability to also have income and create livelihood for their families, enabling AAA to hire numerous other local workers.