The Gita rama COoperative
The Gita Rama Weaving Cooperative is a group of basket-weavers who are trained and supported by Centre Marembo. Founded 2 years ago, the cooperative consists of five young women, aged between 17 and 28. The 35 baskets made and sold each week mean each woman can take home up to 42,000RWF (£42) per month - more than double the average monthly wage for domestic workers (15-20,000RWF).
The Cooperative still faces significant challenges, however – foremost among these being the purchase of affordable raw materials, as well as finding broader markets for their products. We hope to expand the cooperative from 5 to 15 women, creating the capacity to provide to more markets, reducing the relative cost of raw materials, and generating an income for more women.
We estimate that a one-off grant or donation of 900,000RWF (£900), equivalent to 3 months running costs, would be sufficient to expand the cooperative to 15 members, make the initial purchases of raw materials, and to provide the leeway for saving to ensure underlying financial stability, helping the Gitarama cooperative take steps to becoming a flourishing, independent, professional small business.
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Arts and Crafts
We provide training and education in arts and crafts to many of our young people - both for enjoyment, and to give them skills to make craftmaking and selling a legitimate option for a sustainable livelihood. We create and sell our own products, made from recycled materials and sold in Rwanda and online. Some of our products are shown on the left, and you can visit Shop4Rwanda for a full list of what is available!
After training, we assist our beneficiaries to start cooperatives, and we continue to provide them with support as they strive to become fully self-sustaining. We plan to create many more cooperatives in the coming years, allowing hundreds of people - particularly women - the chance to become economically empowered and generate a sustainable income.
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Tusenge Clementine (pictured left) learned the intricate basket-weaving process over a period of 2 months at Centre Marembo. Now, two years later, Clementine is a member of the Gitarama Cooperative, and by selling through Centre Marembo she makes enough to cover her own needs and those of her young child, and has even been able to open a bank account and save for the future. Being a formal cooperative means that resources and skills can be pooled, and that the group can continue to learn from other centres and cooperatives in order to further their craft. Further, if an emergency occurs or any member has to leave during the day, in a cooperative the work will continue to be done and income isn’t threatened; working alone, this would not be the case.
You can buy our products through Shop4Rwanda!