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How Flutter Does Fair-Trade

08/16/2012

What Jill Golden was searching for when she looked to Rwanda.

For Jill Golden, one of the most awesome things about having her own (rockin’) jewelry line Flutter is being a part of a larger network of female-owned businesses. “I really wanted to find a situation where I could help make a difference in other women business-owner’s lives,” she explains. The solution: a partnership with the Rwanda-based non-profit Indego Africa, which helped her create a crazy-colorful collection called Isaro, employing women from the cooperative Ejo Hazaza. Here’s how everyone came together.


“I wasn’t looking to buy crafts that were designed by local artisans—I was looking for an organization that would help me find highly skilled artisans who would craft my designs.  The team at Indego Africa was excited about the designs I’d created and helped me find a group of artisans that were interested in learning a new skill.”  


“I love that Indego Africa’s mission is to give 100% of their proceeds back to the artisans in training, literacy, education, and business skills. The long-term goal is to make these women so self-sufficient that Indego Africa is no longer necessary. Also, on a purely logistical side, they have a wonderful team here and in Rwanda to facilitate the importing of materials and exporting of the woven pieces. The cooperative—which is basically just another word for ‘business’—I’m working with is Ejo Hazaza, which means beads of tomorrow. It’s located outside of Kigali, and it includes 29 women, all of whom come from refugee camps.”


“We taught the women, who are HIV-positive and receive healthcare, a fair wage, and free training through our partnership of Indego Africa, how to weave beads. We sent the looms and spent a lot of time training.  I think just finding a process that works for everyone has been the most challenging, but there is such dedication.”


“This is Epiphanie Murekatete, the president of the cooperative. Their mission is to improve their lives and the lives of their families—and to have fun together and support one another while working. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to travel to Rwanda yet, but I hope to go there soon and meet them all.”

To see what else Jill is up to, come back tomorrow when we unveil her Of a Kind edition. Get on our email list for first dibs.

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