Macy's Rwanda Path to Peace

Happy Christmas week you guys! It's really starting to hit us all that Santa comes in just TWO days! My parents are coming in today to spend a few days with us so everyone is in the celebratory mood! It always feels more like Christmas when family is around, my fellow military families will relate I know! 

I wanted to share today before the Christmas festivities really take over a very special ornament that made its way to our tree recently. This year we were gifted this 2016 limited edition Year Of Peace Gold Ornament from the Rwanda Path to Peace Collection from Macy's. While this ornament is delicate and intricate, it also holds a lot of meaning. This time of year we gather together with our friends and family, and give gifts to show our love and appreciation. But what if our gifts did more than that? That's exactly what the Rwanda Path to Peach product line sold at Macy's is. It offers sustainable income to these Rwandan basket weavers by allowing them to support their families with a purpose. 

In 1994, there was a mass genocide in Rwanda. 20% of the population was killed, leaving women to be the breadwinners. In Rwandan society, women are not traditionally head of households. Their traditions and craftsmanship were the women's saving grace. And with this, would bring their country together. The women began weaving baskets of their nation and the women from both sides of the country united. 

Despite all of this, Rwanda today is a country of hope and faith. Many women after the genocide, embraced the opportunity to heal by weaving. These baskets became a way forward and a path towards peace. In 2005, one American woman named Willa Shalit who is a social enterpreneur, artist, & activist, vowed to make a difference to help these Rwandan women. Shalit showed Macy's executives these baskets who then decided to sell them and go into business with the weavers in Rwanda. Macy's offered them a hand up, not a handout. And a few cool things to note since going into business with these amazing Rwandan women:

  • The weavers earn roughly ten times the average Rwandan wage.
  • A decrease in overall violence: In many cases, women whose families were “enemies” during the genocide have made peace with each other through weaving. Additionally, the baskets have not only led to peace between Hutu and Tutsi, but also between men and women. Domestic violence has decreased immensely, due to the fact that the men now respect that women are wage earners. That fact also allowed women to have increased personal power in a formerly male-dominated culture. This has led to greater stability throughout Rwandan society.
  • Thousands of children who were malnourished and sick a decade ago have had ten years of food, education and medicine, thanks to this program, and are now thriving young adults. Many have completed secondary school and are headed to university.
  • The partnership between Macy’s and the artisans has helped the women move from deprivation and uncertainty to a life where they can plan their futures, and build stable, healthy lives 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 has given them a pathway to do this.

So this holiday season, I encourage you to give gifts this year that keep on giving like Macy's Rwanda Path to Peace. It is a beautiful thing when we can all help one another out and come together as one. You always have the opportunity to make a difference in someone, or in this case, more than just one person. What gift are you giving this year that will keep on giving?

Check out more gifts that give hope at Macy's -

"I was gifted a product from the Macy's Heart of Haiti line however all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own."