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Jewelry: Made in Rwanda and sold in the US

They huddle in small groups and talk excitedly. They help each other so that the work produced is decent and appealing to clients. When I meet them at their workplace in the Kigali suburb of Kimuhurura, no one seems to notice my presence. Everyone is focused on the work in front of them.

These are the women of Kivu Manufacturing Company, a recently formed self-help group by women based in Kigali. It makes jewelry. Women here make various kinds of jewelry such as necklaces, bracelets, and earrings which they later export to the United States.

Looking at the faces, you only notice happiness and determination. Kivu Manufacturing Company director, Fabian Munyankiko says women engaged in this business are mostly widows and orphans left by the 1994 Genocide against Tutsis.

According to the director, the company was formed essentially with the aim of providing jobs to the needy women especially those living in urban areas. It also intends to expand activities into the rural areas.

“Our idea is to make sure all widows and orphans live a happy life and the only way to achieve this is to become creative and provide jobs,” Munyankiko explains at the company’s offices in Kimihurura on Monday.

The materials used in making the jewelry are glass beads, gem stones, metal beads, wood beads, resin beads and shells.

Each woman here earns five hundred francs per day. Chantal Mukarubega is one of the women employed here. She explains that for the three years she has worked with the company, her life has improved.

“The money I get here helps me in running the family and buy basic necessities. It is not enough but we are determined and we shall expand once when get financial support,” Mukarubega said. She appeals to other women to join their group, saying hard work and creativity would end poverty.

For Marie-Rose Mukambasabire, the place has created a whole new world for her in the past one year.

“I earn over one hundred thousand francs per month and this money has helped me to solve my family problems,” she says excitedly.

 

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