After the 1994 genocide against the Tutsi, Rwanda was faced with a gender imbalance, with many women left as widows, single mothers, wives with husbands facing long jail terms, and teenage orphaned girls.
Gahaya Links was begun by two Rwandan sisters, Joy Ndunguste and Janet Nkubana, who had a deep desire to help these women learn how to put their differences behind them, get on their feet and move forward with their lives. The sisters organized about 20 women and taught them how to weave teaching new design techniques. Today Gahaya Links is a growing network of over 4,000 weavers across the country organized in 52 savings cooperatives.
Gahaya Links focuses on superior crafts(wo)manship, new innovations, and diversity. They pay fair and competitive wages, provide basic services of life to improve the quality of Rwanda’s rural women and men. They provide both product and management training while encouraging growth and personal development. Gahaya Links believes that women’s economic empowerment provides the foundation for achieving sustainable peace and development in Rwanda. Their model revolves around this belief, going beyond fair trade to create jobs and improve the quality of life for women (and men) living in Rwanda’s most challenging socio-economic environments.