Since Mike and Amy are spending some serious quality time in Afrca, I thought it would be fitting to share with you the story of the Sisters of Rwanda, a non-profit organization that is focused on helping the poverty stricken women of that country escape the slavery of the prostitution trade.
This cause, this purpose, is a great one, but let’s face it: There are a lot of organizations doing great work in Africa. What makes SOR really interesting is how they’re going about accomplishing their specific goal. They’re not relying on traditional fundraising, having realized that simply throwing money at a problem is never the answer. Instead, they’ve created a sustainable business that has in turn created jobs for these Rwandan women; Jobs that offer them a real alternative to prostitution and a real opportunity to become financially independent.
The business is Keza. Pronounced “kay-za,” the meaning of the word is “beautiful.” It’s a fitting name, because Keza is a gorgeous line of beaded jewelry that would look right at home on display at any high-end boutique in America. From their website:
KEZA Beads are handcrafted from old calendars, posters and paper scraps collected from around Kigali, Rwanda. The women of Sisters of Rwanda cut, paste, varnish and string the beads to make vividly beautiful jewelry. Each bead is one of a kind. KEZA exists for those searching for the best in quality, class and socially conscious fashion.
There are other benefits for these women beyond the financial. As they develop their skill, their art, they begin to recover a sense of self-worth that the sex trade has typically removed from them long ago. They start to remember what it feels like to be valued; What it feels like to have a purpose in life. They learn that God can use something as simple as a bead to restore them to the place He meant for them. They begin to believe that they can be, and that they are, loved.
God bless Keza.