Indego Africa [Rwanda]
[Image credit: Copabu Wooden Bowl, Black – Indego Africa]
Design-led aesthetics and sustainable social enterprise combine to form Indego Africa; an inspirational US- and Rwandan-based organisation working to effect lasting positive change in the lives of those it works with. Offering interior and personal decor and accessories Indego Africa is helping to bring to market beautiful traditionally inspired handicrafts given a contemporary edge. Focusing on women-owned businesses in Rwanda, Indego Africa has partnered with nine cooperatives in a combined total of over four hundred women artisans, skilled in disciplines such as basketry, knitting, sewing and beading; producing stylish seasonal collections of brightly coloured baskets, intricately woven bowls, cushions, clothing, jewellery and bags.
[Image credits: top, Plateau Baskets – Indego Africa]
The Copabu Bowls, in particular, are a favourite, the way they ingeniously combine a simple wooden bowl with a stylish band of weaving around the top edge; and it is nice to finally know to whom I can attribute the ‘Pinterest favourite’, pink swirl basket to, having seen it pop up so many times on my visits! Indego Africa’s products are delivered with a tag bearing the signature of the artisan who created it. Founded in 2007, the organisation provides access to markets, education and training programmes; hiring Rwandan university graduates from disadvantaged backgrounds to administer the programmes, which are funded from the combination of sales profits and donations. Indego Africa is actively redefining the model for economic development in the handicraft sector; believing in the filtering effect that investing in women has in helping communities grow as the skills and knowledge learnt are passed on; and has seen the organisation work with the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Women Initiative, whereby Indego Africa’s top artisan partner students are given the opportunity to participate in a six-month intensive MBA programme.
[Image credit: Embroidered Desk Basket, Lime/Blue – Indego Africa]
Other initiatives include linking the cooperatives and artisans with leading designers and businesses such as Anthropologie, J.Crew, Nicole Miller, and Madewell. Indego Africa’s products are retailed at over eighty stores across the US and Europe, in addition to the organisation’s own online store.
Products on the website Home collection priced from: USD$10-USD$80
For further information about Indego Africa visit: www.indegoafrica.org