Sign up today for a monthly donation, and month by month, you can weave a better future. With your tax-deductible gift to the International Folk Art Alliance, you are making more stories like Janet’s possible—healthy communities, clean water, education for children, and thriving traditions. Your tax-deductible donation is a true investment in the success of artists across the globe.
Here’s what Janet had to say in her recent letter to IFAA supporters:
My name is Janet Nkubana, and I am a representative of Gahaya Links in Rwanda, a network of 52 cooperatives comprising of 4,200 women who are weaving a better future for their communities. Today, I want to tell you my story, the story of the women weavers I work with, and how supporters like you and the International Folk Art Alliance changed our lives more than we ever could have imagined.
My sister Joy and I started organizing women into cooperatives immediately after the 1994 Rwandan genocide. The people of Rwanda were in a state of trauma, and we wanted to bring the women together so that they would be able to sustain their families and start rebuilding their lives again.
Before the genocide, Rwandan women used to sit together, weaving baskets and exchanging ideas. Through the cooperatives we have brought this tradition back, bringing unity and peace into our communities. This has helped heal and unify the two ethnic groups of Rwanda, the Hutu and Tutsi, that had been against each other for many years. Working together, the women were able to forgive each other and motivate others to ask for, and give forgiveness.
At first, we thought of our art as just a way to survive. Then we met advocates like you at the International Folk Art Market | Santa Fe. Through your support and through the Market, our lives have changed. We stopped simply spending money, and started to invent and plan, we began to dream bigger.
We are no longer earning money just to be able to eat; our artists can now buy a mattress for their home, or a cow, or a goat. Being able to think beyond food was a possibility we had never imagined. Our artists are not only weaving baskets, they are weaving new lives, weaving new dreams, and together we have developed peace from both sides of the genocide.
Just as beautiful baskets are made reed by reed and piece by piece, you too can build something beautiful by signing up today for a monthly donation to the International Folk Art Alliance. Your gift will help sustain groups like ours year-round and make an incredible impact for artists worldwide.
In our cooperatives, while one basket is made by one person, each basket is the foundation of opportunity for an entire village. With your donation, you further show the power of a single person who seizes an opportunity.
At the Market, our weavers saw how people like you appreciated our art and valued and respected us. We connected with the people buying our work and we began to cherish our baskets, and each other, even more.
When you support the International Folk Art Alliance, you support artists like us who are survivors. You are part of this huge achievement where women are sitting under one roof weaving and doing business together, healing their community. It is amazing.
From the earnings at the Market, all our women in our cooperatives paid for family health insurance. We started kitchen gardens where women have grown vegetables and improved on family nutrition. When we all come together, we have much to learn from and share with each other.
Now we have the chance to build on the momentum and go beyond what any of us could do on our own. Basket weaving has given us value and dignity as women in the community. It has earned us recognition and changed our lives.
With heartfelt thanks,
International Folk Art Alliance Artist