Drawing on her background and experience, Iyadema Kabasire brought together single mothers, mostly widows, and together they began weaving baskets and other handicrafts made in Rwanda with the aim of securing a livelihood. best for them and their families.
Iyadema said The new times what drove him was his upbringing and life experiences.
“Growing up in a difficult life because I was raised by a single mother who struggled a lot to provide for me was my biggest motivation. So I wanted to not only support my mother but also her fellow widows so that they can provide for their families. That’s when we started a cooperative called ‘ABISHYIZEHAMWE’ and so far we are growing,” he said.
Iyadema Kabasire, 28, was born in the refugee camp in Burundi and grew up in Rwanda, in the district of Bugesera. He went to Espoir De L’AVENIR Nyamata for primary school and joined Indangaburezi for secondary school. He never had the chance to join the university but was keen to play a part in improving the lives of his mother and his counterparts.
He told this publication that he started with a small fund of Rwf 200,000 and with that he started with fifteen single mothers. Since then, women have been making basketry and other household appliances and decorations.
Speaking to Doing Business, Chantal Mukamana, the president of this cooperative, said she had hope for the future.
“We were all struggling with life and providing for our families. Since ABISHYIZEHAMWE started, we can pay for health insurance and get part of our children’s school fees, which was not easy at all before.
Mukamana added that their biggest challenge is market access as they only weave based on orders. “Our biggest challenge is to have customers to whom we can sell our products. We only operate based on orders, this further limits our market and we wish to have a stable workplace so that we can make great signs of progress.
With 300,000 Frw which is their monthly income, they told this publication that after getting the raw materials, the income is distributed among all the mothers according to the number of children of each.
The cooperative makes Made in Rwanda and crafts based on African culture like; Baskets, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, coasters, bottle holders and other home decorations. All are made with strands of sisal hand-dyed in different colors and then carefully wrapped around bundles of sweetgrass and sisal fibers.
Since all the women in this cooperative live and work in Ruhango district, they mainly sell from there and in Kigali. They revealed that they are using online shopping platforms and have started shipping worldwide.
“If we can get enough funds, we can do better than what we are doing and the number of women will increase from fifteen. We can even open new branches and have a specific showroom of our products,” said Kayisire Iyadema.