From the Series
Country director Rosine Urujeni says Indego Africa was born when its founders realised there was an untapped potential in Rwanda’s women. Skilled artisans, Rwanda's women only needed education, development, and support to make their trades economically sustainable.
Matthew Mitro and Tom Mitro founded Indego Africa in 2007. The social enterprise breaks the cycle of intergenerational poverty by providing female artisans with the tools and support to start their careers.
The initiative has grown from 30 women to 850, and it’s growing every year. According to Urujeni, the initiative works by partnering with “cooperatives." These cooperatives have artisan skills and a willingness to participate in Indego Africa’s business education programs and leadership workshops.
The women go on to create designs for clients in the United States, these include brands and designers. The handmade goods are then shipped to the client. Urujeni says the initiative ensures that the women can focus on their work by paying them 50 per cent up front. The women are also supported by a team dedicated to supply-chain management.
“There are some women who understand that this is their profession and they are able to pay their children’s school fees, they are able to renovate, to build houses,” says Urujeni. “Confidence, they’ve gained it definitely.”