Business Partners - Gahaya Links
FEAUTURED PARTNER: GAHAYA LINKS
Full Circle Exchange has partnered with Gahaya Links, a cooperative of over 4,000 women, to change the lives of impoverished weavers and their families. From public health initiatives and HIV/AIDS care to the spirit of hope and reconciliation fostered by the weavers, the impact of the project is helping to lift women, families and whole communities out of poverty.
Gahaya Links was founded to train rural women after the devastating 1994 Rwanda Genocide that left over 1 million dead. In 1990's sisters Joy Ndunguste and Janet Nkubana offered the women a small shop to sell their baskets and earn an income to meet their basic necessities. The sisters later offered to meet the women in their villages and learn how they could use an old Rwanda traditional skill to better their lifestyles. From a humble beginning under a tree in a remote village called Gitarama, the sisters organized about twenty women and taught them how to weave, how to enhance their weaving skills with new design techniques and how to work together by looking beyond their ethnic differences. Today Gahaya Links is a growing network of over 4,000 weavers across the country organized in 52 savings cooperatives.
Through our “Scale for Change” Initiative, Full Circle Exchange aims to exponentially increase the reach of women artisans, farmers and social entrepreneurs who are dedicated to the development of more just economies and social systems as it pertains to the empowerment of women. Women are the backbone of the global economy—they are the caretakers and the first educators of every generation. Sadly, women do 66 percent of the world’s work, yet earn only 10 percent of the income (according to United Nations Development Fund for Women.) Rather than creating dependency on aid, Full Circle Exchange takes a market-based approach, which represents a more comprehensive developmental strategy than traditional philanthropy and grants alone. To that end, Full Circle Exchange will train, resource, and bring to the mass marketplace woman artisan produced, socially conscious and affordable consumer goods (coffee, tea, chocolate and textiles, home décor, jewelry and accessories). By focusing on poverty reduction through job creation, improved incomes, access to global markets, education and job training we intend to reduce the number of women living in poverty around the globe–thereby improving the lives of women, children, families, and entire communities.