SOURCE: Rwanda Basket Company

December 01, 2008 06:00 ET

Rwanda Baskets Offer Affordable Holiday Gifts That Change Lives

Woven Baskets Provide Jobs, Income and Healing to Nation Torn by Genocide

SEATTLE, WA--(Marketwire - December 1, 2008) - Consumers looking for an affordable, personal gift this holiday season can also change lives by purchasing handmade baskets, trays or Christmas tree ornaments from the Rwanda Basket Company (RBC), a Seattle-based company working to directly improve the lives of hundreds of impoverished Rwandan women who survived the horrific genocide in 1994.

The baskets, woven by more than 200 Rwandan women employed by RBC, greatly elevate the standard of living for the widows, enabling them to earn money for basic food and shelter, as well as for health care and school fees for their children. Since RBC was founded last year, the weavers have earned a combined total of more than $68,000, giving them a monthly income of as much as $64 a month in a country where the average monthly wage is less than $20.

"In the year since we started the Rwanda Basket Company, we have seen a dramatic improvement in the quality of life for our weavers and their families," notes Greg Stone, founder and president of RBC. "By selling their baskets in the United States, these women are able to provide for their families' needs in ways that were not possible before."

Each basket comes with a card detailing the lives of one of the RBC weavers. In addition to purchasing them at home parties held throughout the country, the handmade baskets -- which range in price from $17 to $45 -- can be purchased online at in time for the holiday season. The RBC, a member of the Fair Trade Federation, works directly with the weavers to return the highest profit possible to them. The RBC also connects the lives of women in the United States with the weavers in Rwanda. Currently RBC has 95 independent consultants from 80 cities throughout the U.S. hosting in-home basket parties where customers can learn about the lives of RBC weavers.

"It is our hope that we can continue to expand our market in the U.S. so more Rwandan women can improve their lives with trade, not aid," says Stone. "We have hundreds of weavers waiting to join our group but need additional sales consultants across the country to create the opportunity."

About the Rwanda Basket Company

The Rwanda Basket Company (RBC), founded in 2007, is working to change the lives of women in Rwanda. In addition to providing much-needed income to impoverished women, RBC is helping to sustain a tradition that has been part of the Rwandan culture for centuries.

For more information, visit or call (888) 757-3031

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