Rwandan genocide survivor Mariya, 69, heads a household of 30, including 18 children, all struggling with the effects of poverty. Employment opportunities for Rwandan women over 35 are severely limited. Rwanda-one4one was formed to help Mariya care for her impoverished family by teaching her and her daughter Victoire to naturally dye textiles, providing a sustainable source of income, and to provide education for her young grandchildren.
Nearly one million Rwandans were brutally slaughtered in the 1994 genocide. Most of the survivors were widows and children like Mariya and her family. Female heads of household in Rwanda can barely cultivate enough food for their families along with providing child care and fulfilling other household duties. There is no free public education in Rwanda and families like Mariya's cannot afford the $300 per year for primary and secondary school. The brutal cycle of poverty continues.
We provide Rwandan women an income-earning craft of naturally dyeing fabric to make beautiful wraps and scarves and we fund education for their children. Income in the hands of women, coupled with education for children, is the most effective means of lifting families and communities from poverty. The World Bank estimates that 90% of women's earnings are invested in their families. Education increases a child's chance of living a healthy life, increases income opportunities and promotes peace.
Sustainable peace in Rwanda can only be achieved by rebuilding its social and familial structure along with its economic and physical infrastructure. Women like Mariya and Victoire play a critical role in this process. Investment in women and children helps break the crushing cycle of poverty, improving the lives of families and strengthening the social fabric of the community. Our mission is to invest in women and children like Mariya and her family as a means to this end.