KAZI Transforms Lives: A Firsthand Account of KAZI’s Social Impact
Hi! I’m Bella Rios. I’m a KAZI sales manager, but prior to coming to the San Diego office and joining the team at HQ, I witnessed the power of KAZI’s mission after spending 8 weeks in Rwanda and Uganda assessing the social impact of KAZI on its artisan partners. My research partner and I conducted 100+ surveys and interviews-- both concluding that KAZI transforms lives of its artisan partners!
Sitting on a woven mat, weavers in the rural district of Muhanga in Rwanda meticulously weave and exchange stories. Once scoffed at for their trade, they are now respected members of society as KAZI weavers.
They create paths out of poverty and emerge as leaders in their communities as the primary income earners of their families.
KAZI connects artisan women and men to global markets, enabling them to be the architects of their own futures. I witnessed the power of this autonomy in countless interviews with women and men employed by KAZI.
They not only spoke with confidence, they reported significantly improved livelihoods, from increased savings to improved nutrition.
Since working for KAZI, 75% of artisans are now the primary income earners for their households. Most artisans are women.
What Ruth lacks in stature at a mere five feet tall, she compensates in charisma and compassion. After the Rwandan Genocide, Ruth united survivors and relatives of perpetrators through weaving. KAZI artisans are leaders like Ruth. She married a farmer, but he made little money, so she weaved and became the primary income earner working for KAZI. She recognized that through weaving, individuals could heal together. Ruth exemplifies this spirit of generosity as a cooperative leader by recruiting those on the margins of society, those with little resources, to weave.
Our artisans are resilient survivors, paving pathways out of poverty for their families and creating job opportunities for their neighbors.
They are members of the weaving cooperative, Inhagane Ruli, located in the northern province of Rwanda. The group is comprised of HIV-positive women. They shared that weaving for KAZI fills them with hope. Through weaving, they forget about their sorrows as they build community and receive fair, stable wages.
They are parents committed to not only providing for their families, but investing in their futures.
Within 3 years of working for KAZI, artisans paid their children’s school fees and improved household nutrition.
The longer the artisan weaved for KAZI, the deeper the social impact.
On average, those who worked 5 years with KAZI tripled their savings and more than half improved their housing.
Experienced artisans have the financial stability to not only meet their immediate needs but plan for the future. With improved housing and higher savings, artisans create transferable wealth for their children and transform their communities.
When you purchase with KAZI, you invest in our artisans, their families, and their communities, transforming their lives and fostering hope in a brighter future.
Written by: Bella Rios