Ethical Shopping for Mother’s Day

So, Mother’s Day is fast approaching and the drive to find the perfect gift is now on everyone’s priority list.

It’s the chance for all of us to celebrate the bond that we share with our Mothers and how they have influenced our lives.


Whilst on our mission though to find the perfect gift for Mothers Day and to show how much we care for them we can still be caring consumers at the same time. However with many of us as busy as we are, buying a gift that also reflects our consumers principles can be at odds with one another.

Reassurance of shopping Ethically with Kigali Crafts

Buying from our company sends a clear message of whom and what you support. Your purchase does make a difference to these women.

We support many women – approximately 80% of the women that Kigali Crafts support are genocide survivors who need to earn a living. Habiba, through her sales of beaded pens, has been able to send her children to school, thus breaking the poverty cycle as her children will have a better education resulting in better job prospects.

Through our partner organisations, such as Azizi Life and Ubushobozi, the women also receive contributions towards their education and health cards as these vital social needs have to be paid for in Rwanda.

Your purchase will also support our volunteers when they go to Rwanda and teach people business skills such as accounting and quality checking. Through these diverse and empowering methods we can bring hope for the future for other Mothers.

By purchasing from us you are showing that you wish to help through a dignified and liberating method. These women don’t want handouts – they want to have a regular income that they can be proud of.

This is a value that is the core of Kigali Crafts, which is why we’re so thorough with our projects. We send volunteers at least twice a year to Rwanda to check on the various projects. We also hold online conferences with our partner organisations that are based in Rwanda to keep up to date with the various individuals who we support.

An online calculator is used to ensure that our women are getting a fair price for their product and we are also recognised by the BAFTS (British Association of Fair Trade Shops) who we report to on our progress.

All these life changing and empowering acts though can’t be done without you – the consumer.

So with us – Support Living, Not giving!


Kigali Crafts is now 3 Years Old and still supporting Rwandan Genocide Survivors

Kigali Crafts is now 3 years old! It’s third birthday was celebrated on 8th June 2013. This is an amazing – we have kept a fair trade company going for 3 years in a recession. With the fact that import is so difficult with Rwanda being a landlocked country, what a massive achievement.

Kigali Crafts still runs on a purely voluntary basis for the benefit of Rwandan genocide survivors. I would like to thank those who have supported Kigali Crafts both financially and through volunteering their time.  Our ‘get Kigali Crafts sustainable’ campaign in 2012 was an essential part of allowing Kigali Crafts continue, and many thanks to everyone who sponsored us.  We are looking enough to have a throroughly dedicated team of 7 volunteers and interns who play a crucial role in the project.

Rwandan sisal Basket Photography by Roxanne Kovacs

Rwandan sisal Basket
Photography by Roxanne Kovacs

Although I remain the Managing Director of the Company and deal with the finances and big business decisions, Jill Tinsley is now the office manager and in charge of the day to day running of the project. Jill is making a massive difference to the sales and the motivation of the team, and we thank her greatly.

The Kigali Crafts office has also now moved to Holgate Villas on Holgate Road in York. This move has allowed us to save over one hundred pounds a month in office space.  The new office is bright and well organised, with plenty of space for our stock. If you would like to arrange a visit, please contact the team on 01904 848306.

The finances are always a challenge, and we are constantly looking for ways to improve our sales so that we can continue buying from Rwanda. Plans are now underway to work with the charity Comfort Rwanda, and we still work closely with Allan Walker of Build Rwanda to achieve collaborative success. We also hope to order more Kenyan crafts, which can be shipped and therefore more profitable.

With regards to marketing, special thanks go to Dhakshi Suriar for her amazing job on Pinterest. Dhakshi Suriar and Richard Mossop are currently working hard in the office to increase online sales. This includes exploring web design, search engine optimisation and an Amazon shop.  Special thanks also go to Dominik Schienstock who is currently working hard on our new webite. The Drupal system will give us excellent facilities including extra tools and a stock management system. To support the project by purchasing Kigali Crafts, shop here!

My personal business ventures include a step into network marketing, where I hope to build a fantastic network of consumers and entrepreneurs. The network marketing model has been approved by leading business men and women as the model that produces the most millionairres. On my path to success, I hope to be able to fund the Kigali Crafts project when necessary through my new Arbonne business. If you are interested in getting involved in my new business, please contact me on I am looking to help young and enthusiastic volunteers to set up their own business for success!

Thank you all for your continued support,

Amy Trumpeter



World Fair Trade Day – the Definition of Fair Trade.

World Fair Trade Day 11th May 2013

Fair Trade Day

World Fair Trade Day is on 11th May 2013 – a celebration of all that has been achieved to get a fair wage for workers in developing countries.

On the 11th May 2013 a final petition will be delivered to David Cameron. The contents of this are extraordinary when you consider that many of the signatures are not directly affected by this in negatively other than their conscience. These signatures are calling for David Cameron to rectify a terrible injustice that is afflicted upon small farmers, who contribute 70% of the worlds food, yet they only receive 3% of the retail price!

These farmers need protecting and justice to be delivered so that they (as the suppliers) get a fair price from the retailers.

All this is a great cause, however it also concludes on World Fair Trade Day! So what is it all about and why bother with Fair Trade?

What is Fair Trade? 

Fair trade is a way in which, as a consumer, you can support tackling trade processes which are either considered unfair or exploitary.

Children are especially vulnerable to being exploited in poor countries, “Working conditions are appalling but the children need to work anyway in order for their families to avoid going into poverty.” (1) Children between the ages of 10 and 14 make up 14.4% of child labourers in India.(2)

Remarkably this isn’t just found in the third world countries. Not only are children found in terrible conditions but also in dangerous ones too.

This was found in a plant in Iowa where workers as young as 13 stated that“.. they worked shifts of 12 hours or more, wielding razor-edged knives and saws to slice freshly killed beef. Some worked through the night, sometimes six nights a week. (3)

It’s not uncommon to find workers in conditions that are unsafe expected to work long hours without facilities and few rights.

When you take your money away from these companies you are showing a clear messge to them – that this way of making a profit is unacceptable and you won’t be part of it.  Therefore, when you buy fair trade…

  • You are supporting companies who support human rights.
  • You are eliminating forced labour or child labour.
  • As a result of children no longer going to work then Social Development can be supported such as Schools and Health Centres for the Community.
  • Most importantly through all the previous points mentioned, the lives of the poorest are greatly improved.
  • This in turn leads to natural and organic production which also reduces the carbon footprint upon the environment!

Fair Trade and Kigali Crafts

Amy Habiba Sumaya

Kigali Crafts is an import member of the British Association of Fair Trade Shops. We are completely commited to supporting Genocide survivors from Rwanda and their continued effort and determination to combat poverty which ravaged their country.

This is a constant struggle, due to the high costs of living in Rwanda and the need to fly goods out of the country rather than ship it. However, through our sponsors such as Burns & Associates, and our co-operation with other Charity Organisations, these women can receive a living wage and hope for their future.

What makes us who we are though is our relationship with the families. We encourage Living – Not Giving. This is all many people ask, the opportunity to obtain a decent wage providing either a service/product without being in danger or exploited!

Fair Trade is a way to ensure that this is a reality within companies who are part of other Fair Trade Organisations other than Fair Trade.

We ensure that this is achievable, we are completely transparent with how we operate and what we have achieved throughout 3 years that we have been trading.

We are very proud of what we stand for. However this couldn’t be possible without conscientious consumers who also want to make a difference.

What is Fair Trade?

Fairtrade markThis Logo shown here is a mark given by the FairTrade Foundation who have been verified to adhere to the strict fairtrade standards.

It is a mark applied to ensure that the consumer knows that when they purchase this product that they are ensuring that disadvantaged workers are getting a better deal through better trade conditions.

Be aware though that although Fair Trade is a Foundation thats aims are to alleviate poverty and encourage sustainability, there are other Fair Trade Organisations that also help.

At present there are 400 organisations from 70 different countries, which is why a day has been allocated to celebrate this great supportive ideal which became reality.

How can I get involved in World Fair Trade Day?

We have 10% off all items on the 11th May that goes towards helping these women with a sustainable wage. You can purchase our crafts to help women in Rwanda, or apply for one of our volunteers positions available.

There is also a world fair trade community meal being held in York.  Book to avoid disappointment. Contact us for more information.





Skilled Volunteer Position – Search Engine Optimisation

Kigali Crafts is looking to expand their online presence and increase traffic to our website. We are therefore offering a skilled volunteer position for an SEO (Search Engine Optiminsation) specialist.

This role requires a minimum of 12 hours a week committment for at least 12 weeks. The role can take place remotely. You are welcome to join us in the office, but it is also possible to do meetings and training over Skype or Google+ hangouts. This allows flexible working and does not restrict applicants to the geographical area of York.

You will be responsible for on-page and off-page SEO, including creating backlinks, guest blogging and location based directories.  Some training can be given, but it would be advantageous if you already have experience in this field.  This role requires a degree level qualification and excellent spelling, punctuation and grammar.

Kigali Crafts provides full references and marketing and SEO training opportunities. The role is designed to give someone the skills and experience required to move on to a paid SEO position. In order to apply, please send a CV and covering letter to Amy Trumpeter at

Ethically fashionable: You don’t have to compromise on trend to be ethical in your accessories this season!

So the trends have been revealed for 2013 and it’s clear that big, bold and colourful accessories are a must for every follower of fashion.

Purple Necklace

Super sized chokers, huge earrings  and cuffs are a must for your statement jewellery. This season is all about making a statement without even saying a word.

 What better way to make a statement than with a fantastic necklace that also supports your ethical views but doesn’t make you compromise with your fashionable image?

This unique and striking necklace is on trend and is made from off cuts of material that then has the beads added to it. Each one is completely unique and handmade in Kigali, Rwanda.

The beads are made from recycled paper that are cut into triangles and then rolled and spray-painted with the desired colour.

From one necklace the workers earn $4 for each one, in a place where they need to earn $2 a day is above the poverty line for these women.  Therefore as long as they sell 20 of these a month they have an adequate living wage.

When you purchase one of these you are proudly stating how you are supporting these women in their challenging lives and providing an opportunity for a living wage for them. You can purchase these necklaces here.

Easter in Rwanda

How the Rwandan People Celebrate Easter

Easter Traditions

As we cast our thoughts to Easter many of us think of Easter Bonnet parades, chicks and Easter bunnies, as well as the greatly anticipated Egg hunts! It’s easy to forget that these are traditions that have evolved from our own culture and that in other countries including Rwanda, eggs are not associated with Easter.

Easter In Rwanda

In fact the Rwandan people would be greatly bemused by our symbolic use of the Easter Egg! Rwandan associations with Easter are linked with more traditional Christian and religious symbols, but are also entwined with the Rwandan people’s own unique ways of celebrating this time of rebirth, which reflect African culture and the environment.There is a strong Christian community in Africa (57% are Roman Catholics and 26% are Protestants) (1) .

The Rwandan Easter Vigil

The Easter Vigil is a greatly anticipated event, when the Rwandan Churches are decorated with ‘Vitenge’ and ‘Kanga’. ‘Kanga’ are colourful printed cotton fabrics, normally with a border, and usually worn by women. These are created using traditional techniques and “many of the designs have a meaning. A large variety of religious and political designs are found as well as traditional tribal patterns.”)(2)

Although Christian hymns are sung they are accompanied with the beating of drums. Drums are highly symbolic in Africa so it’s fitting that these instruments are part of the ceremony. Drums have been used traditionally to “make public announcements or to invite people to public meetings…” (3) The drums are accompanied by high pitch noises made by the women called ‘Kigelegele’.

Once Mass is finished the celebrations continue outside but with a twist of Rwandan culture, as traditional dances are held reflecting their own unique way of celebrating the resurrection of Christ.

The whole community comes together, following the lessons taught by Jesus to love thy neighbour, Christians and non Christians eat together, sharing boiled rice and meat (5)

Rwandan Genocide Day on April 7th

Easter being a celebration of life prevailing over death seems a fitting event to celebrate in Rwanda, and on the 7th of April the Churches in Rwanda also observe a week of mourning to commemorate the tragic events that occurred 19 years ago during the Genocide.

Despite these terrible events the Rwandan people continued and rebuilt their country. Rwanda did prevail over death and religion brought them hope and light which is the message of Easter – When all seems lost, when hope seems extinguished it is in fact just the darkness before the brightest light.




(3)- Culture and Customs of Rwanda  By Julius Adekunle



Happy St. Patrick’s Day for this Weekend!

What is St. Patricks Day?

St. Patrick’s day is approaching, and across the world, many will be celebrating by drinking Guiness, wearing Shamrock T-shirt and many other exciting traditions. St. Patrick’s day is a cultural and religious holiday, which is celebrated on 17th March (this Sunday!). St. Patrick was the patron Saint of Ireland.

Where does the tradition of St. Patrick’s Day come from?

St. Patrick’s day became a feast day in the seventeenth Century. Churches including the Catholic Church and the Anglican Church celebrate to remember the time when Christianity came to Ireland.  It has now become a more secular celebration of ‘Irishness’ and people wear green and enjoy an alcoholic beverage or two!

St Patrick’s Day Gift Ideas

These fairly traded Guiness earrings and green sisal grass earrings are perfect for St. Patricks day! Visit or email to order.


green earrings

Happy Fair Trade Fortnight 2013!

Take a step 2013

Fairtrade Fortnight 2013 runs for two weeks commencing today, Monday 25th February. Last year, Fairtrade fortinight asked us all to take a step for fairtrade and register it on the fairtrade fortnight website.  This year, we are campaigning for people to take a step further for fairtrade, in support of the famers in developing countries who deserve a living wage.

If you would like to campaign for change, you can register you virtual ‘mini marcher’ on the Fairtrade Fortnight website. Your ‘mini marcher’ represents your support for the petition that is encouraging the British government to make trade laws fairer on smallhold farmers in developing countries and encourage a sustainable food system.

largeAvatar During Fairtrade fortnight, there are various activities going on in York and across the UK. To find out more about York Fairtrade events click here.  At Kigali Crafts we are offering a 10% discount on all products during fair trade fortnight. To take advantage of this offer, please email us on or call 01904641255.

Yorkshire – The world’s first Fair Trade Region

Glowing Success for Yorkshire as it is named the UK’s First Fairtrade Region

Exciting news for Yorkshire as its hard work and commitment has paid off to see it crowned the first UK Fairtrade region on 18th January. The day saw many events throughout Yorkshire celebrate this fantastic achievement, and was rounded off at York’s Mansion House with the Lord Mayor of York, Cllr Keith Hyman in attendance to offer his praise and join in with the festivities.

We are a Fairtrade Region

Fairly traded projects are bought and sold in a fair and sustainable manner, promoting improved working conditions and getting better prices for the farmers in developing countries ( Yorkshire has worked tirelessly over recent years to achieve this and has also maximised use of local products and small-scale businesses.

Since being recognised as a Fairtrade City in 2004, our very own city of York has continued to operate fairly and sustainably, as local businesses have upped their already brilliant contribution, echoing the conscientious attitude of the whole of the region.

To continue this good work, communities in the region are taking action during Fairtrade fortnight, which runs this year from 25th February – 10th March. Get your Fairtrade goodies from a number of stalls at York’s Festival of Fairtrade: or pop in to Cherry Burton for a locally sourced Fairtrade brekkie on March 2nd: Find out how the rest of the region is getting involved and how they have already contributed at

Fairly traded projects are bought and sold in a fair and sustainable manner, promoting improved working conditions and getting better prices for the farmers in developing countries ( Yorkshire has worked tirelessly over recent years to achieve this and has also maximised use of local products and small-scale businesses.

Since being recognised as a Fairtrade City in 2004, our very own York has continued to operate fairly and sustainably, as local businesses have upped their already brilliant contribution, echoing the conscientious attitude of the whole of the region.

To continue this good work, communities in the region are taking action during Fairtrade fortnight, which runs this year from 25th February – 10th March. Get your Fairtrade goodies from a number of stalls at York’s Festival of Fairtrade: or pop in to Cherry Burton for a locally sourced Fairtrade brekkie on March 2nd: Find out how the rest of the region is getting involved and how they have already contributed at

Project Co-ordinator/Office Manager Work Experience/Opportunity

Kigali Crafts is expanding, and we are accepting more products and creating more educational links all of the time. Our volunteer team has now grown to 6 office based and 4 remote volunteers. We are now looking for someone to help to run the project and manage the volunteer team, initially on a voluntary basis. It is hoped that, finances dependant, this will become a paid position in the future.

If you are looking at gaining more project management and international development experience, this could be the role for you. We offer training, flexible working hours and references on completion of the role. You will be given the responsibility of leading a volunteer team to enhance your CV and expand your skills. There will be opportunities to get involved with PR, events, communicating with Rwanda, marketing, education and many other exciting aspects of our fair trade project.

Essential criteria of this role are:

  • An undergraduate degree
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills
  • Fluent English speaker
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Management experience in a paid or voluntary capacity OR a willingness to learn how to support and manage a small team.

This role requires a 2 or 3 day a week commitment, prefereably working Tuesdays and one other day to manage the volunteer team at the Kigali Crafts office (80, The Mount, York).  We are looking for someone to start this role as soon as possible, so please email your CV and covering letter to, addressed to Amy Trumpeter.