Recently, we shared with you our latest collaboration project with Imani Collective, a fellow nonprofit working in Africa. Based in a village outside of Mombasa, Kenya, Imani Collective believes the key to breaking the poverty cycle lies within dignified employment. So much of their story is similar to our own: their mission began by employing sixteen artisans and has grown to employ over eighty Kenyan women.
Imani’s founder, Jenny Nuccio, traveled to Rwanda in March and visited the Handspun Hope cooperative in Musanze. We asked Jenny if she would mind sharing her experience and she was gracious enough to write a guest post. We are tremendously grateful so, without further adieu, please welcome Jenny!
I remember my first encounter with Handspun Hope was last August at their booth at the New York Now market. I immediately fell in love with the artistry, work and the intricate detail of the pieces they had on display. I stared at all the natural colors of their wool and read their impact story from afar while others walked in and out of the booth. I was immediately intrigued and wanted to know more about not just their story, but their overarching process of caring for their women. Being the Founder of Imani Collective, I am daily immersed in the fair trade, ethical and artisan handmade culture. I see a lot of good, but sadly, I also see the bad.
When I came across Handspun Hope, I immediately felt the difference and I could see the hope woven throughout each product and radiating through their smiles as they told the story of the women in Rwanda to so many people who walked by. They shined love and I truly wanted to be their best friend. I excitedly made my way to the booth and introduced myself to Diana (Executive Director and Founder of Handspun Hope). After only a few minutes, I was in love with their model as it reminded me so much of my own. It brings an immense amount of joy to my heart when I hear about others caring for the whole individual.
Most people can say they are fair trade, but not many can say they are ethical and truly put the artisan before the product.
Handspun Hope does just that and because of their deep sense of passion - I had to go see it firsthand.
I knew I was going to make my way to Rwanda very soon.
Being a social sustainability researcher, I am always deeply passionate about organizations who empower, uplift and care about transformation. This past March, when I walked onto the Handspun Hope campus in Rwanda, all I felt was love. There was joy that radiated through the smiles of each and every one of their women and a sense of peace that overflowed throughout the compound. The women were not only happy to be together and at work, but they were proud of what they were doing. They had a sense of ownership of their job and displayed confidence in their ability to make, create and be innovative.
The beauty of Handspun Hope is not just in the end product, but it starts with the women and their stories. I had the honor of sitting next to these women as they felted, spun, dyed wool, and knitted. I was able to witness empowerment to its finest and a depth of love that can only be explained by feeling it yourself. I was able to dance, celebrate and sing with the women as they celebrated accomplishments and construction of new homes. I saw a new level of gratitude that much of this world needs and more importantly, I saw hope.
Handspun Hope has a spirit that is contagious, and I am grateful for the opportunity I had. Although it was short, it was a beautiful experience and those memories will be forever engraved in my heart.
Founder of Imani Collective
Thank you, Jenny! We are so grateful to you and for the life-saving work Imani is providing to artisans in Kenya. If you would like more information about Imani Collective and what they do, be sure to stop by their website at https://imanicollective.com/
And, don’t forget to visit the Hope Artisan Collective and pick up our wildly popular Hello Hope Canvas Tote. It is the result of our collaboration with Imani Collective. Made by artisans working for Imani, these sweet bags serve as an easy way to educate others: about the artisans working for Imani in Kenya, the women working for Handspun Hope in Rwanda … and the amazing ways God is transforming lives across Africa.
Such amazing things happen when organizations offer artisans fair wages, ethical employment …
and a little hope.
Cheers to shopping for good!