Genocide survivors make home goods for global sales—a sign of healing in Rwanda. Women producing baskets, handbags, and jewelry in the small, central African nation of Rwanda comprise TO THE MARKET’s artisan network. These survivors of the Rwandan Genocide are transforming a society torn apart by gruesome ethnic violence through the dignity of work, opportunity, and economic empowerment. Artisan entrepreneurship, assisted by TO THE MARKET’s online sales platform for Rwandan goods, helps propel Rwanda forward.
April 7th marks the 22nd anniversary of the Rwandan Genocide. From April to July 1994, between 800,000 and one million ethnic Tutsis and moderate Hutus were killed during a 100-day killing spree planned and perpetrated by ethnic Hutus, also known as genocidaires. Despite the presence of United Nations Peacekeeping Troops, the international community did very little to intervene or quell the violence, which has left lasting social, economic, and political scars on the small African nation.
Paul Kagame, now President of Rwanda, led a Tutsi intervention force, the Rwanda Patriotic Front (RPF), comprised of Tutsi refugees, to defeat the Rwandan Army and Hutu militias. Kagame ultimately established a unity government led by the Tutsi RPF political party. Hundreds of thousands of Hutus fled the country for fear of retribution, many fleeing to neighboring countries, including Zaire (now the Democratic Republic of Congo). Many of the Hutus who fled were then, in turn, targeted by DRC militias, including M23, a militia backed until 2013 by Kagame’s government.Read more