Nyamirambo women’s center
The Nyamirambo women’s center started in 2007 as a group of neighborhood women getting together to support each other. Most were not educated and some were single moms. They saw a need in their neighborhood for the production of clothing and other goods, so together they bought a few sewing machines and learned to sew. In the beginning they worked out of their homes. Those who could read and write taught others. There was not much overhead and the work empowered them.
Business was slow to start, but they began brainstorming on how to generate sales. First they decided to bring community tourism to their neighborhood, with those who spoke English and French serving as guides. Then they began marketing to hotels and tour companies, asking them to promote the Nyamirambo Women’s Center. Business remained slow, but they continued to work hard and build their organization. Soon they started a website and Facebook page which began to drum up some business, recruited young boys and girls from neighborhood families to guide tours, and were able to buy 15 more sewing machines and recruit more women to join them.
Now, a total of 55 women work from Monday to Friday at the cooperative. In 2017 hairdressing courses were added to give women in the community another vocational opportunity. The tours, basket weaving, sewing and cooking classes now help to generate income, and in 2014 they opened a small library in the neighborhood to provide daycare for not only the workers children, but all neighborhood children; whoever wants to come is welcome.