Basket Weaver
5 children

My name is Estude and I am 53 years old. I have been working with All Across Africa for 1 year and live with my 5 children, one orphan and husband. Growing up in the Gitarama area, I was the third born of 8 children. Unfortunately, this meant that I was not allowed to go to school, but rather remained at home to care for my younger siblings. I started weaving when I was 15, learning from my friends whose mother’s were teaching them. However, I married at the age of 17 and soon stopped weaving because there was no market for woven baskets. It was many years later, after President Kagame made an announcement on the radio encouraging women who knew how to weave to join cooperatives because there was a market for them in the United States, that I began to weave again. Only a few years after that, I began to work for All Across Africa. My income from weaving allows me to hire farmers so that I can weave instead of farm, buy medical insurance, pay school fees, and care for my children’s health and safety. The orphan that I took in was the daughter of my neighbors, and after her parents died I decided that I was capable of caring for her. She is the youngest in our family, and currently attends primary school. She is very clever. My older children are either in secondary school or have married. My dreams are for all of my children to succeed in life, and for me to be able to progress into old age gracefully. I am trying to save money from weaving, as I do not believe my eyes will allow me to weave for many more years. All Across Africa has graced me with the ability to care and provide for my family, and I am grateful each day for the work that I do and for the people who buy our baskets.