The Journey House weaving program is training young women in the traditional art of Basket weaving. They specialize in weaving arts and craft items, something very much embedded within the Rwandan culture. The program now consists of 40 weavers. They are located in Gashora, a town of 5500 inhabitants in the Southern part of Rwanda, district Bugesera.
Since the Genocide, traditional practices around the concept of solidarity such as Umuganda (collective community construction work), Ubudehe (collective community agricultural work) or Ibimina (collective storytelling) have supported the ongoing reconciliation efforts throughout the country. Organizations such as Journey House Actions play an important role in that process.
Besides helping the young weavers, the weaving program aims at supporting other aspects of local community development including poverty reduction, local economy, environmental care, education and nutrition, and reconciliation. However, it still lacks the tools, budget and capacity to fully provide that help. To do so, we are hoping to focus on generating that capacity by creating more revenue and diversifying its activity, which today exclusively consist of manufacturing various arts and craft and decorative items mostly woven from grasses and sisal, or rafia. These women are specialists in weaving baskets of the highest quality and their beautiful bowls stand out among others because of the care and time they put into crafting each one. We are looking at increasing the use of Water Hyacinth in the weaving of utility baskets and household items. By harvesting that plant and using the "amarebe " as weaving raw material, Covaga members could become active agents in long-term sustainable environmental care while improving their economic situation.
With the support of JHA ( Journey House Actions Rwanda ) the cooperative has gained a reputation in the region as an active social change agent. Since we started working with the weavers they receive a living wage which helps them buy nutritious foods, purchase health insurance and pay for school fees. With the purchase of each basket you help the women achieve their goals and dreams of a brighter future.