Indego Africa Roundup

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Screen shot 2013-05-21 at 10.15.20 AMLike cute stuff? Like helping women artisans in Rwanda? Of course you do! Want to get cute stuff WHILE helping Rwandan women build sustainable businesses and receive job training? Indego Africa is doing just that, providing Rwandan women the opportunity to build skills, create beautiful jewelry, housewares, and accessories -- and providing a platform to sell those goods to a global market via their online store. TML bloggers recently helped promote Indego Africa's work -- here's what they had to say:

Shaina Olmanson of Food for my Family

A Menu for Heading into Summer

Pictured above is my new plateau basket from Indego Africa. It does double duty as both wall décor and fruit basket on my dining room table, but in addition to serving as a piece in my home, it also helps a Rwandan artist gain independence as she practices a trade. A member of the Fair Trade Federation, Indego Africa works to give women sustainable income and lifelong skills.

Shane Prather of Whispering Sweet Nothings

"Indego Africa: Empowering Rwandan Women"

I received this beautiful fruit bowl and set of 8 wine coasters. They also offer a variety of jewelry, accessories, and home decor.
It's my dream to someday travel to Africa and craft with these wonderful women.

Amy Estes of Coffee & Sunshine

"Indego Africa"

Both are so fun and bright for summer. Even better, I feel positive every time I wear them because they contribute to a greater good. I’ve worn both multiple times, and gotten a TON of compliments. They’re on sale! And there’s tons more cute stuff.

I can’t recommend Indego enough, not only for their amazing products, but because they’re putting good out into the world. I firmly believe that if you have a chance to do good, you should, and this is just one of many ways to do so.

Jessica McFadden of A Parent in America

"Indego Africa: Beautiful Rwandan Goods, Beautiful Cause"

All of the jewelry is exquisite, but I was particularly drawn to the Wrapped Cowhorn Earrings (currently on sale for $25). They are statement earrings — a nice change from the ubiquitous statement necklaces. The hoops are hand-carved by the artisans of the Umurimo Cooperative and then wrapped with hand-dyed imigwegwe plant fibers by the women of the Imirasire Cooperative. I feel humbled when I wear them, knowing two different women worked on a beautiful product I am now wearing about my privileged American life. Talk about beautiful perspective…

Lauren Mills on MercyInk:

"Handmade Hope: Indego Africa"

And the women had something else in common: each of them a mother. And not just a mother, but a mother to a child born of rape from the 1994 genocide. The physical and psychological consequences of their reality, coupled with a lack of very basic resources like clean water and adequate food, well, I would say those factors put running a successful business out of reach, wouldn’t you?

Yet today, those women sew their hearts out. But not in harsh factory conditions or for unfair wages. No, they are part of one of 11 such Indego cooperatives that “lifts women-owned businesses in Rwanda toward sustainable economic independence through access to markets and education.

 

Julie Marsh of JulieMarsh.net

"The fruits of my labor"

Sure, I could have bought a bowl at Target months ago. But it makes me happy to put my money where my mouth is and support a developing community in a way that benefits us both. As Ugandan native TMS Ruge told us last fall at the Social Good Summit, the African people want trade, not aid. By supporting Indego Africa, I’m giving agency to African women who can make a productive living, support their families, and in doing so set an example for their children.

Lois Altermark on Style, Substance, Soul

"Indego Africa: Changing Women's Lives by Design"

I was generously gifted a redeemable code worth $75, so I immediately called Sara at college and we spent some quality mother/daughter time “ooh”-ing and “ah”-ing over the accessories and home décor, and discussing each piece – in depth. Happily, $75 goes a long way with Indego Africa, and we went back and forth until we finally decided on bracelets for all. Please note this decision was not made lightly, and I still have my eye on the Copabu wooden fruit bowl and theColor Weave oversize beach bag.

Rita Mauceri of Dot Coms for Moms

"Indego Africa: A New Spin on Handmade"

From a shopper's perspective, what makes it so exciting is the high-quality selection of products.  The offerings are colorful, fun, fresh and modern.  The craftsmanship and design work is so topnotch that Indego Africa has collaborated with mega-brands like J.Crew and Anthropologie to produce designs for them.

Charmin Calamaris of The Momiverse

"Indego Africa: Social change through African handicrafts"

I learned that these beautiful banana boxes were created by the Twiyubake Family, a banana leaf weaving co-op of 28 members located in Kayonza. The Twiyubake Family consists of genocide widows working side-by-side with the wives of imprisoned génocidaires who killed their families.  Can you imagine what these women have experienced in their lives?  The women of Twiyubake previously had no access to running water, let alone market opportunities, and a majority of its members were illiterate.

Dresden Shumaker of Creating Motherhood

"Gifts of empowerment: Indego Africa"

One of the most powerful things on the Indego Africa website is a quote on their Artisan page.

“I am now a well-to-do woman. I can eat what I want, wear what I want. I am confident, independent, and self-sufficient. I think back to what I was like only a few years ago and I do not recognize myself. And that is a good thing.” Domitille, 49, President of Hope Cooperative.

Jessica Ashley of Sassafrass Jess

"Connecting to Rwanda"

But I chose my bit of Indego Africa artistry from the organization's site, wherean online marketplace is packed full of beautiful things for sale. I picked this Horn & Tin Toggle ring, handcrafted and signed and reminding me as I type to move forward bravely and with power on my own and surrounded by a community of other women, as these artists have done.

Elizabeth Atalay of Documama

"Shop For Good With Indego Africa"

My love of Africa is apparent in our home as well, in treasures that I brought back, and influences in our decorating style. The Indego Africa online catalog is full of the type of textured, colorful, and richly designed clothing, accessories and home goods that I love. Although I will most certainly go back for more (I’m looking at you batik top!) since we are in the process of decorating our home I selected an item from the housewares selection.  I chose a striking black and white woven bowl, and because I love the fabrics so much, I added a set of gorgeous handmade cards each with a different patterned fabric sewn on to my order.   I was surprised at how quickly my order arrived after it was placed. The bowl is amazing, and I will have a hard time actually parting with the note cards, so if you get one you know you are really special!  I am so excited to share this site with friends, and to have found a great new source for meaningful gifts that give back! To find out more about Indego Africa, the programs they offer, the impact they are having, and that you can contribute to, you can visit their website, like them on Facebook, follow them on Twitter and enjoy the eye candy on Pinterest.

Tawanna Browne Smith of Mom's Guide to Travel

"Indego Africa Brings Together Fashion And Social Enterprise"

It’s not a leap for me to buy any of the products you see on the Indego Africa site – I have similar items in my home. I’ve been buying stuff from West African shops in Harlem (NY) since I was in my teens, picking up items like kinte cloth, masks, jewelry, trinkets, and housewares for my grandmother. But I have to admit that I’ve never thought about the people behind the products.

Holly Rosen of Culture Mom

"Invest in Women Who Can Change the World"

Indego Africa is an award-winning, design-driven 501(c)(3) nonprofit social enterprise that lifts women-owned businesses in Rwanda toward sustainable economic independence through access to markets and education. They provide opportunities for women in difficult circumstances to not only meet their families’ basic needs but also acquire skills that enhance long-term earning potential.

Photo credit Indego Africa