Every year, I love to feature gift options that help make a positive impact. This year we have a couple items, and this year we were sent a beautiful hand made basket from Macy’s. It’s one of the Path to Peace baskets hand created in Rwanda and comes with a story of it’s own.
Path to Peace is a program was started 10 years ago, to help generate a stable income for men and women in Rwanda to help support their families and create jobs. The Path to Peace project also helps with create a healthier living situation, provides ways to get clean water and medical testing. For the past 10 years, workers from both sides of the Rwanda Genocide work side by site to build better relationships as well as making baskets.
About Rwanda Path to Peace:
In 1994, we in America were totally unaware that a mass slaughter was taking place in Rwanda, a tiny country in the heart of Africa. In just three months, nearly a million people, 20% of the nation’s population, was massacred when tribal hatred between the Hutus and Tutsis turned into ethnic slaughter. Neighbor killed neighbor in one of the worst genocides in human history.
After the violence ended, many Rwandan women found themselves thrust into the unfamiliar role of being sole breadwinners for their families, since their husbands, fathers and sons had been killed. Others saw their husbands jailed for committing unspeakable atrocities.
Despite this savage history, Rwanda today is a country of both hope and faith. Even though their physical and psychological wounds were fresh after the genocide, many women embraced an opportunity to heal. Weaving baskets became a way forward and a way towards peace. Women from both sides of the ethnic divide came together, wove baskets, and created an industry, which today supports thousands of Rwandan women and their families. One American woman who vowed to make a difference helped the Rwandan women – social entrepreneur, artist and activist, Willa Shalit. In 2005 Shalit showed the baskets to executives at Macy’s who committed to sell them and to go into business with the weavers in Rwanda. Macy’s offered them a hand up, not a handout.
The weavers who work together as part of Path to Peace actually earn ten times the average Rwandan wage. That means they’re helping lift their family to new heights with the money they earned. This isn’t just an aid effort by Macy’s, but instead a way to help them rise above the horrible history they faced together.I absolutely love the basket we were sent, each design is unique and painstakingly crafted from sisal and grass by women who learned to weave from their aunts, mothers and grandmothers. The weaving of the baskets is an extraordinarily intricate process that has been practiced for centuries in Rwanda. Check out the video below to see one of the baskets being made in action!
Rwanda Path to Peace is one of the longest program of it’s kind, and to commemorate that fact, Macy’s is offering a special edition basket that you’re going to absolutely love! Because of the Macy’s Path to Peace program, children and families in the last decade have been able to get the food, water and medication they need to live a healthier life, and extending their life expectancy. This healthier life is made possibly by creating the traditional art that was handed down by their mothers and grandmothers. The weavers say that they have experienced the worst possible pain, through war, and want to send their message of peace, through their baskets to the world. Macy’s is celebrating 10 years of the wonderful Rwanda Path to Peace project and holding an event next week at Macy’s Herald Square. More information on the event is below or on this link: http://bit.ly/Path2Peace
Macy’s Herald Square6th FloorTuesday, Oct. 206:00pmJoin us for an in-store celebration commemorating the 10th anniversary of the Rwanda Path to Peace Project. Enjoy live musical performances, traditional Rwandan eats, and a ceremony honoring the women who made this project possible. Shop the latest baskets with new designs and fall colors, and with any Path to Peace basket purchase receive a special gift* created by the weavers of Rwanda.Kindly RSVP to Macy’s via phone at 646.429.7330
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