Crafts and culture are powerful tools with which to engage communities in various levels of change. They are a means to public dialogue, contribute to the development of a community’s creative learning, create healthy communities capable of action. As young Rwandan women, with a passion for art in all its forms, we co-founded a company called IMARA ART DESIGNS which is a specialty retail store offering a large array of arts, crafts, crafters' supplies and needs, a gallery, and an education center.
Through our innovation, we are committed to transforming the lives of rural, low-income Rwanda women artists through training and market access. We are currently working with women grouped in 20 cooperatives who are highly skilled but lack market exposure to supply their goods. Imara created a platform that will equip these women with oriented skills and introduce them to the markets that will increase their exposure to the national and global markets. We aim to expand this platform and reach out to 100 cooperatives and form an association of about 1500 women. We aim to train the 1500 woman and to create market access for their arts through online platform. In Rwanda a proportion of the Rwandan population is below 1$ income per day while others are below national poverty line. With our solution we will be able to increase 1500 family’s income from 1$ to 7 $ a day.
The Rwandan population is composed of mostly women, according to the provisional results of the recently conducted General Population and Housing Census. The survey shows that women make up 51.8 percent of Rwandan 10.5 million inhabitants while males account for 48.2 percent. Women have been affected by the Rwandan genocide in many ways which have created a severe physical, psychological, and social impact that it continues to have on their daily lives. The magnitude of the detrimental effects on Rwandan society as a whole cannot be underestimated. Our goal is to provide a creative safe haven for the women to engage in productive social and economic activities that will in turn provide income for their families, learn about the Rwandan art and culture and most importantly, heal their wounds caused by the atrocities that took place during the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
Together we can reveal the unlimited potential of Rwandan women in the arts industry as we connect Rwandan art to the world through the eyes of IMARA.