Why I’m Proud To Be A Macy’s Path To Peace Ambassador! #path2peaceNEWS | Nirasha Jaganath | October 22, 2009 at 7:03 pm
When I received an invitation to be an ambassador for the Macy’s Path To Peace program I had barely read the entire mail before I said yes. My plate is actually full, and then some, but this project was too close to my heart to say no to. What is the Macy’s Path To Peace program you say? Well this is what the project says “Spearheaded three years ago by Willa Shalit and her company Fair Winds Trading, Path toPeace developed an American market for Rwandan women’s crafts. It creates trade partnerships with artisans in recovering regions to bring the power of change to Rwanda and Indonesia. Shalit believes that women helping each other can change how Rwanda rebuilds its society, empowers women and sustains economic development beyond traditional development assistance.”
If you are a regular reader to my blog you would know that I come from South Africa and have a soft spot for anything African. Plus growing up in South Africa I know that in impoverished societies women suffer the most. I also have a hard time just giving money as I never know where it is really going. The old adage “Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for life.” is one I live for.
Which is why I love this project. This is not a handout, or aid but about trade. The Rwanda Path to Peace project allows Rwandan women the opportunity to take charge of their livelihood. Founded in 2005 the project has achieved success in bringing economic security to the women of Rwanda. Amazing this project employs more than 2500 weavers and impacts tens of thousands of lives. Coming from South Africa I can tell you the designs are authentically African. Products are exported to the US and sold exclusively at macys.com/rwanda. Now how about Africa meets America? The women of Rwanda have forged a partnership with women of New Orleans to create the new series of O Bracelets. The sale of this wearable art is empowering women in Rwanda and New Orleans. O Bracelets are also available from macys.com. You can learn more from their facebook page or the Macy’s site (which has excellent coverage of the program).
I was at the Blogalicious Conference a few weeks ago when I was given my “O” bracelet (which was featured in the Oprah Magazine this month) and it felt like coming home, which is truly emotional for me as I have not been home in almost 7 years. I remember seeing these designs on the beach as the weavers would sit and make the most beautiful products. Of course I have more appreciation for it now, since you know how you never appreciate what is in your backyard. Anyway back to my lovely bracelet, which I received with a little handwritten note, you can win the “O” Bracelet too. A note with the woman of Rwanda and New Orleans come with each handmade piece. To touch a piece of paper that you know these 2 women, dedicated to make a difference to their lives, have also touched is like walking in time. It makes you realize how small this world is and how interconnected we are. So interconnected that we need to realize we have to help keep each other up or we all fall down.