Last week I received an invitation to meet Janet Nkubana, founder of the Rwanda Path to Peace Basket project at an event to be held at Macy's Herald Square in Manhattan. Since I was in the area that evening, I decided to go and see these baskets that I have heard so much about.
Upon arrival, on the 6th floor, where the event was taking place, there were numerous people all waiting in anticipation for the event to begin. The baskets were simply gorgeous and professionally laid out on one side of the room, and there were waiters dressed in black with trays of complimentary champagne and Godiva chocolates!!I am always amazed at the range of skill, talent and creativity in Africa. Zimbabwe is famous for its Binga baskets, Swaziland for its magnificent Swazi baskets, South Africa for its colorful telephone wire baskets, and now Rwanda with its impeccable and colorful baskets. I felt really proud to be an African woman standing amidst such wonderful work, and I felt justified in what I always tell people, that Africa is a best kept secret for crafts which is slowly coming out.
A representative from the Rwandan embassy said a few words, followed by Janet herself and then finally the CEO of Macy's Terry Lundgren. Janet's speech was by far the most emotional and you could see how moved and overwhelmed she was by all the love and support around her. I'm so happy for Rwanda, the country really deserves this after years of war and loss. Maybe one day when Tashanda has expanded to the rest of Sub Saharan Africa (as is our intention), the people of Rwanda will be our Partners too.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Hi Everyone. On Dec 12th Tashanda's president was presented with the 2008 AngelAfrica Entrepreneurs Achievement Award which is dedicated to persons of African descent who are promoting private sector development by creating and/or managing businesses on the African continent and who are fulfilling AngelAfrica’s mission to improve Africa’s economy through private enterprise. This award shows the depth and breadth of Tashanda Inc.’s mission to fight poverty, support micro enterprise in Sub-Saharan Africa, and achieve the United Nation’s Millennium Development goals.“When I think of Africa and Zimbabwe in particular I don’t think of wars, famine, hyperinflation and more recently cholera. That’s not to say I ignore it either. I simply choose to focus on what’s possible for our continent and I always look for the positive. So when I think of Zimbabwe this is what I see…. I see talent, I see creativity and innovation, I see resilience, beauty and phenomenal possibilities.
We wouldn’t be here today if we didn’t love Africa or if we didn’t believe in what is possible for the continent. I’d like to challenge everyone here to think of a way to invest in Africa. Many of you are going there for the holidays, so I challenge you to set aside some money $50 - $100, and figure out a way to make a difference in the life of one person living in Africa today. As a social entrepreneur my favorite ideas are always business related. So just to get you thinking, here are some ideas:
• Donate your old cell phones & some phone cards to get someone started on their own phone shop.
• The cheapest sewing machine at Walmart is $40. You can purchase it online and have it shipped directly to Africa to help someone start their own clothing business.
• You can purchase seeds like beans, pumpkin, tomatoes, maize and other staples. Home depot has them or you can buy them on line and ship them directly to Africa for a market garden business
• Or, if you are feeling extremely generous, you can spend USD$100 to USD$200 to purchase a donkey and cart and set someone up with their own transportation business.
It really is that simple!
• Finally, you can also go to www.tashanda.com to purchase products made by the micro-entrepreneurs of Zimbabwe.”
Simple ideas that really work.
Thanks for all your continued support .