Teach 75 Rwandan Women to Sew Handicrafts

by Isano Women and Youth Empowerment Vetted since 2017


In 1994, Elise Rida Musomandera lost her parents and siblings in the genocide against the Tutsis in Rwanda. Twenty years later Elise founded, Isano Women and Youth Empowerment (IWE) to teach vocational skills to orphans of the genocide and their children. Through training in tailoring, handicrafts, and literacy, Isano seeks to create lasting opportunities for women and children in Rwanda's capital city of Kigali to lift their families out of poverty and reduce domestic violence.

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During the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda, 800,000 Rwandans were killed in three months. Others were imprisoned or died of AIDS. Today, their children often live alone. Some of them have not finished primary school, because they had to raise their brothers and sisters. Others had unintended pregnancies and were forced into prostitution. Based in the Rwandan capital of Kigali, this project will impact and empower the vulnerable women and children of this post-genocide generation.


Isano Women and Youth Empowerment (IWE) trains women in sewing and handicrafts. While mothers train, their children participate in on-site literacy workshops and do art projects. IWE provides sewing machines and supplies, pays for instructors, and adult literacy classes. With your support, those who have completed training will receive their own sewing machine. We estimate that 2/3 of graduates will start a business and thus employ even more people, helping to end a vicious circle of poverty.

Long-Term Impact

In 5 years, we will train more than 400 women and children who have not had the opportunity to finish school. These vocational and literacy trainings will allow them to become self-sufficient, and support their children and extended families. By providing them with sewing machines and supplies, they can start their own businesses and hire employees which will allow more community members to escape the cycle of poverty and exploitation.

Additional Documentation

This project has provided additional documentation in a PDF file (projdoc.pdf).


IWE Website
Buy items made by the women of IWE
A blog post describing an American's visit to IWE
LinkedIn Profile of IWE Founder

Organization Information

Isano Women and Youth Empowerment

Location: Kigali - Rwanda
Website: http:/​/​iweorganization.org/​about.html
Project Leader:
Elise Rida Musomandera
Kigali, Rwanda
$5,960 raised of $6,000 goal
80 donations
$40 to go
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