Kayitesi
40
Rwanda
Basket Weaver
Married
5 children

I am Kayitesi and I have been weaving Rwandan baskets for three-quarters of my life. I am forty years old and live with my husband and five children, who range in age from age one to twenty. With such a large family to support, I depend on basket weaving for income. The largest cooperative in Gitarama that All Across Africa works with is one that I help lead. Our group has 600 weavers who are divided into subgroups. With a lot of gratitude and pride I can say that I am the president of one such subgroup. Before I joined the cooperative, I used to sell my baskets for a very low price because we didn't have a stable market. Through All Across Africa I can now access foreign markets, and am able to get ten times the price for each basket. Because of this income, we are able to pay the school fees for our children, buy health insurance, and open a savings account. My oldest daughter is in school to become a seamstress. It makes me hopeful for my remaining children since I only was able to attend primary school. I want my children to get a better education than I had. Through weaving, we are also reconciling with another, because some of the women are related to genocide victims and others are related to genocide perpetrators. But because we are working together in a cooperative, we now help each other with our problems. As we come together to weave, we are reconciling through our baskets.