Artisans Step Into Brighter Future
Same Sky is thrilled to receive updated testimonies of artisans working in the Avega collective in Rwanda. The women are making progress, thriving and building their futures because of their employment with Same Sky.
“At first I did not have any job but now I wake up early in the morning and go to work,” says Yvette, an Avega artisan, “I feel proud of that.” Yvette can now buy necessary medicines for herself and her family, but most importantly, she is no longer lonely.
The emotional support has an overwhelmingly positive effect on the artisans of Same Sky. As HIV positive victims of genocide, life for these women can be alienating and harsh. Some artisans were abandoned by families and others simply have no family left. This is why it is a priority of Same Sky’s to have working environments that are safe, secure and hopeful.
“They are my parents,” says Yvette of her colleagues. The artisan collective is a community where women counsel each other, become a shoulder to cry on and exchange advice. For them, going to work is to go to a place where they are not alone in their struggles.
Reading the women’s testimonies reveals a sense of empowerment that spills over into their lives. “We are no longer vulnerable,” says Beata, a leader in artisan training at Avega. They can not only afford basic necessities, but are now starting to take control and invest in their futures.
Artisans like Beata and Yvette have managed to reduce, if not completely eliminate, any debt. Others have invested in building homes or making necessary improvements.
“I could not sleep during the rainy season,” Annonciate described her old and leaking roof, which she just replaced, “I now live in a good house.”
Therese just bought a lock for her door so that her family can feel safer – can you imagine living without a lock on your front door? Julian fixed her fence that was damaged by the rain. Many are getting mattresses for their families for the first time.
Nine mattresses were distributed to the families associated to Avega as a result of a campaign held by Same Sky and Frette Linens. For every set of sheets that Frette sold on New York City’s Fashion’s Night Out, they donated a mattress to an artisan. “My child used to sleep on the floor,” says Therese, “She is so lucky to get a mattress.”
While a mattress might seem minor to us; to Therese, Beata and Madreine it has changed their lives.
Each improvement, no matter how small, is a stepping-stone to a better life and a brighter future for the artisans of Avega. With each step, they are growing stronger, happier and more motivated to make those changes.
Same Sky is so proud to receive these inspiring updates and is so grateful to our loyal fans and customers. Buying bracelets makes it possible to provide the tools and environment needed to empower these amazing women artisans. Thank you.
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