Prosperity Collection: Wearable Art

Each hand-crafted scarf materializes after thin layers of Merino wool are placed on fine silk fabric and then sprayed with warm soapy water.  This combination is gently agitated until the wool and silk become one.  The process is known as nuno felting; being derived from the Japanese word for cloth.

These one-of-a-kind scarves are lightweight, soft to the touch, and are a beautiful addition to any outfit.

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The Tale of Jean d'Amour's Life

THEME:  THE TALE OF MY LIFE

                                           SUB-THEME 1: MY LIFE BEFORE RESIDING IN AN ORPHANAGE

Though I don’t recall details of my life before residing in an orphanage, the little things I can still remember is that we were dwelling in a concentration camp because of the Genocide tragedy that befell our country by then .That concentration camp was situated in Tanzania and its name was BENAKO sincerely those are the few facts I can still recall about my life before orphanage.

                                                     SUB-THEME 2: MY LIFE IN AN ORPHANAGE

In 1998 Red Cross organization took us away from the camp and brought us in the orphanage by then I suggest I was aged 4, so when we had spent few years in the orphanage some of my colleagues found their relatives, families, parents, kinsmen. Unfortunately I did not find mine up to date. After spending three (3) years in the orphanage, they took us to school and that’s how I began schooling, six (6) years later I completed my primary but I studied in appalling conditions to the extent that I would come back from school and fail to get what to eat, sometimes I would miss school for trivial matters or on no account.

Considering my colleagues in the orphanage and people in the charge of the orphanage no one showed passion for me and that culminated into my desperate living and I was always pessimistic. Reflecting back on my education, I completed primary six (p.6) after sitting national examination where I succeeded and managed to make it to senior one (s.1) in 2009 but in s.1 I faced turbulent situations like changing from studying in French to studying in English my academic performance by then leaved a lot to be desired more over no one inspired me at all, nevertheless I endured all the dire situations till I completed s.1.

In 2010 it was my turning point when I met piteous Michelle, she tried to show me the reverence of education she obliged herself with her sympathetic heart to meet all my needs and alter my entire pessimistic life into an optimistic life! From then that is when I commenced living a hopeful life nowadays I can smile, joke with friends which is a reverse of my past frankly people who knew me before are overwhelmed by my present way of living.

May almighty God reward Michelle abundantly because she did a selfless and an unequalled action for me! It’s my sincere hope that she did it not because of much money, she might be possessing but because of her passionate heart.

                                                                  By: MANIRAKIZA JEAN D’AMOUR

                                                                      

 

A Powerful Weapon

In the words of Nelson Mandela, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”  Echoing this powerful statement, Kwizera Hope’s primary focus is education, as education is the greatest gift one can give.  The global education crisis is one of the most challenging yet solvable human rights issues of our time.  Having the opportunity to support Rwandan orphans fills us with hope and a greater sense of purpose.  Kwizera Hope gives sponsorships to students who truly desire an education.

Rwanda: 20 Years Later

     The country of Rwanda, a land of one thousand hills, is synonymous with one thing—genocide.  The month of April is designated as the start of the 100-day mourning period in memoriam of the Rwandan genocide.  During this time, Rwandans will wear purple and hang purple banners, along with other displays, as purple is the color of mourning.  In a way, this spreads the notion that the genocide was against only the Tutsi, while in reality there were moderate Hutu’s who were slaughtered as well.  It almost reaffirms the idea of us versus them—those who wear purple and those who don’t.  Many banners will also boast the name of the Tutsi, however, nothing is mentioned regarding the Hutu’s who were also slain. 

     It’s vital to remember, however, that the genocide affected every family within Rwanda, and neither tribe was left untouched by such a great evil.  Husbands were pitted against their wives, neighbor against neighbor, and pastor against parishioner – no Rwandan escaped the genocide, and no Rwandan will ever forget.  Although the genocide took place exactly twenty years ago, the effects still linger in every city, village, and home. 

     Within me, there is an intense desire to change the narrative of such a dark history, to convey overall beauty rather than the blood and carnage that is so often associated with Rwanda, because in reality Rwanda is so much more than that.  But maybe nothing really has changed.  Sure people are no longer being killed and it has become quite safe to live there, and some even refer to Rwanda as the “darling” of the West.  But there are still injustices, as there are in many parts of Africa.  For example, there is no freedom of speech; journalists have been killed for merely disagreeing with President Kagame.  The average Rwandan also only earns less than a dollar a day, 90% of which are subsistence farmers who need an education to survive.  It is these injustices that continue to separate our world from theirs.

     April 7, 2014 marks the 20th anniversary of the Rwandan genocide.  Twenty years ago I was a carefree seven year old.  I spent my days drawing hopscotch squares, playing hockey in the driveway, and riding my bike with my brother.  Yet a world away in the African nation of Rwanda, children faced an entirely different fate.  They were witnessing the rapes and killings of their family, friends, and countrymen as genocide ravaged their country.  They, like me, lacked an understanding of such terrifying events, yet they were forced to face them regardless, while I went on enjoying my childhood, oblivious to their misfortune.

     These are the same children who grew up at Gakoni Orphanage.  Some of their parents were killed, while other still were genocidaires – or perpetrators of the genocide.  Every day, they are the living remnants of a horrific past, and that is just one more reason why Kwizera Hope was founded. 

     We in first world countries are in need of a great awakening, a change of mindset and perspective that will eliminate the separation between us and them – much as the Tutsi and Hutu must overcome their inclination to segregate between those that acted and those that were acted upon.  We are no longer children, cradled in the arms of innocence; we must see those that suffer as our brothers and sisters, as if it were our own family enduring the evils of this world.  For we are all one in kind and species – we are all of the human race, and we must reach out to those in need, or we risk losing that part of ourselves which makes us human.  

      As we remember the genocide that ravaged a tiny, beautiful country a world away twenty years ago, remember also that their suffering continues today.  If you can, if you are willing, step outside of yourself, and give a little to those in need.  Help us make a difference in the lives of others.  Kwizera Hope thanks you and sends love to you and the rest of our brothers and sisters in this world.

Why Boys Matter Most

In Rwanda, female youth are dependent on their male counterparts in order to achieve womanhood; this is due to the fact that a girl does not become a woman until she has married and had children.  Under these conditions girls are reliant on boys to become men and provide for them.  The first traditional step in achieving manhood is house construction, however, many boys are not able to save enough money to build a house and thus never officially become men as accepted and customary in Rwandan society.  To further complicate matters, Rwanda has a severe shortage of men due to the number of males killed during the genocide.  Due to these concerns, male youth are leaving rural areas for the capital at alarming rates, and leaving girls behind to fend for themselves.  Because of all of this, we choose to support boys so that all Rwandans may have a brighter future.

Passion Collection: Homemade Pillows for the Home

 

Bring the garden indoors with these one-of-a-kind pillows!  Each hand-crafted pillow is appliquéd and embellished with stitching in the updated ancient art style of Broderie Perse, also called Cut-Out Chintz, is a form of applique in which an image is cut from a piece of fabric and stitched to a background. 

Want a specific color scheme or motif represented?  Custom orders are possible with 8 weeks lead-time.  E-mail your ideas with your contact information and we will contact you at our earliest convenience.

 

Meeting Rwanda, Part IV

“Every child wanted to wrap their spindly arms around me, and I welcomed every embrace and smiling face.”

            My first official day in Rwanda was a jumble of emotions and mental gymnastics.  Emily and I woke up and were taken on a tour of the orphanage.  For the first time I saw in broad daylight the living conditions of the children, and I was far from impressed.  Their houses were very dark and dank.  They had bunk beds and slept on ratty, old mattresses, but what little they had was kept very tidy.  

            The children were distant at first, but out of the blue one ran up to me and hugged me.  After that, every child wanted to wrap their spindly arms around me, and I welcomed every embrace and smiling face.  One child in particular shook my hand, but then would not let go.  His name was Henry.  Later, Patrick told me that Henry is handicapped.  As time would pass, I would learn of other children who were also handicapped at the orphanage.

            For lunch we had rice and beans with avocado.  The food actually tasted pretty good considering there was absolutely nothing cooked with the beans, and not even very many beans.  The food was simple, pure, and stretched as far as it could go.  I felt a tinge of shame for the gluttony that North American’s are accustomed to expecting.  There wasn’t room for waste or the luxuries of the first world.  At the orphanage they ate to live, they didn’t live to eat, as we in America do.

            Later while we washed dishes, the power went out, and Emily and I were left in complete darkness.  It was the first of many power outages we would soon become used to.  We gave up on the dishes and went and sat in the living room (if you could call it that).  We lit a candle and used avocados to hold it up in a bowl of salt.  I was sure this was not safe, but we were in Africa, after all.

            We had a meeting with the orphanage’s director and accountant following another meal of rice and beans for dinner.  I was so exhausted and jetlagged that I missed the majority of the conversation, and later had to be filled in on the details.  Just one of the blessings of traveling half way around the world: your mind and body still think they’re back home and that nothing has changed, when in fact, all has changed.

            Patrick, Emily, and I had a lot of down time when we first arrived at the orphanage.  We spent our time applying ourselves to a lot of mundane things like compiling an inventory of all the supplies and children’s clothes.  We soon realized that the orphanage had no official documents, so we set about recording everything and drafting mission statements, etc. just to be useful.

            As I mentioned before, I had been told I would be taking care of the children, translating letters for sponsors, looking for sponsors, visiting other orphanages, and searching for ways to reconstruct our orphanage.  Of course none of this happened the way it was supposed to.  If I wanted to visit another orphanage I had to find it, contact its director and then pay for my own transport.  Also there were no letters for sponsors, and nothing to be translated, and it also turned out that not all of the children were even sponsored to begin with. 

            Perhaps most importantly, teaching English to the children proved to be incredibly hard – impossible even – due to the fact that I didn’t speak Kinyarwanda, and there was no translator on site to help.  Eventually I would hire a translator, but that would be months down the road.  For now, I would struggle to find my place here in this strange new world, and to be of as much use to the dear children as I possibly could.  Only time would tell where this new path would lead me.