First, I have to tell you: I love baskets. I especially love handwoven baskets infused with ethnic style. I also love a good cause, and what is better than combining the two?
Now I have to tell you what I discovered and share it with you.
You might know I exercise at Curves, usually three times a week. This past week there were some baskets on display. Not just any baskets, but well made, graphically gorgeous baskets. As I said, I have made it a habit to inspect this type of basket, and price them… buying something if I can afford it. My latest purchase was a really fine bowl basket made by Micronesians which I bought in Maui. I also love seagrass baskets made in South Carolina and sold along road side stands. There is something earthy and attractive about the blend of beauty and utility in a handwoven basket!
Anyway, I asked about the baskets on display. A tiny one with a perfectly fitted cover and a large bowl shape with a striking black and tan design. The owner, having just set them out, also had a postcard size placard with the url and a short explanation about the good cause story of these baskets. I’ll let the site describe this in its own words:
Changing Lives One Basket at a Time
The vision of the Rwanda Basket Company is to empower the impoverished women of Rwanda to rise above their subsistence level existence by providing them with the training, tools and support needed to sell their baskets in the west. The Rwanda Basket Company accomplishes this in several ways:
* Providing â€œMaster Weaversâ€ to work with these impoverished women to help them improve and expand their weaving skills
* Paying the weavers directly a premium wage for each of their baskets
* Supplying high quality sisal, dye and other materials needed to ensure a quality product
* Making available to the weavers (many of them genocide widows or wives of imprisoned perpetrators) such life skills training as healing and reconciliation workshops, trauma counseling, and basic medical assistance
* Opening up multiple markets in the west for the weaversâ€™ baskets, thereby ensuring them a much better wage for their products than they could ever hope to receive in Rwanda
I was already going to purchase one of their baskets…. now I want a collection. They also have a sales program that I don’t think I can personally fit into my life, but perhaps you might, check out the details, and the direct buy of baskets on their site, Rwanda Basket Company.
For me, this is the type of good deed I like best: empowering others. Like the Chinese proverb says… give a man a fish and feed him for a day, teach him how to fish… he is fed for a lifetime.