SOURCE: Rwanda Partners

Rwanda Partners

December 07, 2011 06:00 ET

New Business Creates Thousands of Jobs in U.S. and Africa

"We now employ more than 300 sales associates in the US and more than 3,000 weavers across Eastern Africa. Our growth has been amazing -- we are up 650%." -- Greg Stone, Co-Founder and Executive Director

SEATTLE, WA--(Marketwire - Dec 7, 2011) - Californian Terri Braukman is a widowed mother of three. She lost her job a year and a half ago and didn't know how she was going to support her family. Baskets were the answer. Braukman is one of hundreds hired by a thriving organization to help sell Rwandan baskets in a growing number of retailers across the US.

"I was unable to support myself and my family on unemployment -- this job has been a Godsend for me and my family -- especially with the holidays approaching," says Braukman.

Rwanda Partners is a Northwest non-profit with offices in Seattle and Rwanda. Their up-start basket business, created to help support Rwandan widows, is now hitting its stride.

"I used to work for 300 (about $0.50 USD) Rwandan Francs per day. But when I first sold my baskets, I got 16,000 Rwandan Francs and because I was so happy I didn't even know what to buy," says Egidia Nyiranani, 39-year old Rwandan weaver and single mom of four.

African women like Nyiranani are using basket earnings to provide for their families' day-to-day needs such as food, shelter and school fees and escaping the binding poverty that has faced them every day of their lives -- until now.

Rwanda Partners has painstakingly built an efficient delivery system to transport baskets from rural East Africa to American buyers. Each basket takes about three days to create and comes with the personal story of each weaver inside. The baskets are available for purchase at US retailers or online at: "We are transforming lives of women -- one basket at a time," says Stone.

This holiday season is critical -- as it has gathered thousands of the Rwandan baskets in anticipation of December sales. The hope is that each basket will end up under an American Christmas tree -- providing blessings for the receiver, the American employed to sell it, and the Rwandan who created it.

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