Thursday, November 19, 2015

Cards From Africa Pt 1

Last March when I was in Rwanda, I had the opportunity to visit Cards from Africa. I was so impressed that I thought I would share about this ministry.

THEIR MISSION - to improve the quality of life for orphaned youth in Rwanda by providing employment handcrafting greeting cards that embody better lives.

How It All Began
“The idea for Cards from Africa came to British founder, Chris Page, in 2004, inspired by a Kenyan doctor who had started a similar endeavor to generate income for women in a Nairobian slum. Chris teamed up with Rwandan artist Gabriel Dusabe and together they learned how to make paper and create simple card prototypes.

Their first employee was a young orphaned woman named Ariette. After one month's time they asked her to bring another friend to train but she brought two! Shortly after, twenty more orphaned youth were trained and the business was born. Our profits are continually reinvested into company operations as well as the lives of our staff. Our hope is to grow to provide steady employment to 300 orphaned young people in Rwanda and to provide a model for sustainable job creation in Africa.”

Cards From Africa Pt 2

Their Values
They run this business because they believe that God has a heart for the poor and marginalized in society and that faith requires action: "Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, `Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed,´ but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead." (James 2:15-17)

They believe all people are precious and that they must do more than provide jobs: they must take care of the entire person. They take a holistic approach to employment. For example, they spend 30 minutes at the beginning of each day with their staff discussing practical, spiritual, and emotional issues affecting their lives. The life skills acquired from these discussions have proven to be invaluable to their growth.

The Future
“Cards from Africa is part of a new generation of African businesses setting a trend in our divided world. Our business model is teaching entrepreneurial, management, and practical business skills to our staff so they can transition to another career or start their own business someday. By unleashing creativity, teaching valuable skills, and fostering self-worth, we are confident that someday they will be able to access the international market themselves and contribute to a thriving economy and better quality of life for all Rwandans.”

Cards From Africa Pt 3

It’s Homemade Paper

“The beautiful handcrafted cards are born of simple office waste. At Cards from Africa, we make all of our handmade papers from discarded scraps that would otherwise be burned. Not only is this environmentally friendly, it also ensures that we have a large range of base colors and textures of paper to work with.”

Here are a few steps in the process of making paper for the cards.

Cards From Africa Pt 4

“Without chemicals and using the traditional African method of making paper, we create various textures using natural products found in the wide open spaces surrounding our workspace. Bougainvillea petals, Umunyinya (similar to pine needles), reflective mica rock flakes, and the imprint of woven grass mats are just a few things that we incorporate into our process of making unique paper with which to make unique greeting cards.”

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Mom & Baby House

What is this new community outreach...."To celebrate life by providing healthcare and education for new moms and their babies and to minimize the possibility a young mother may abandon her child."

The Head of the local Medical Center came to Urukundo for a better understanding of our mission as a good neighbor and to share the hospital’s commitment to work with us. Since then the Mom and Baby House for new mothers and their infants has taken on a life of its own. Not exactly what we had thought but in many ways better.

The culture does not allow mothers to come and “stay” at our home “yet”, but they do come to visit our Midwife and Nurse for advice. They receive medical help as needed and clothes for their newborn. At the same time we share clothes for their older children. This outreach ministry has expanded to more than just the mothers and their newborns but to other needy children in our community. Sharing and spreading God’s blessings is what we do at Urukundo.

*Julienne our nurse/midwife is presenting a layette kit to the director of the birthing center at a local hospital.

*Twins with hats and other essentials

*Precious little one with hand knit hat

*Young mother-to-be in desperate need for help and care