I spoke with an extraordinary woman the other day. She was a representative of Azizi Life. Azizi Life is a Rwanda-based social endeavor run by a group of Christians from Rwanda, the US, and the UK. This group works to promote initiatives for fair-wage income and economic stability in Rwandan communities. Azizi is a Swahili word that means precious, treasured, or excellent, and it is Azizi Life’s belief that every person’s life is Azizi. What a concept, to acknowledge the intrinsic value and uniqueness of every single person we meet. Somehow we become enamored with the value of inanimate objects; how much more valuable are people?
Rwanda holds a special place in my heart ever since the Rwandan genocide of 1994. One of the survivors, Immaculee Ilibagiza wrote a powerful book about her experience: “Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust.” Since that horrible time, the people of Rwanda have worked together toward healing and recovery. Farming is the major industry in this country, but unfortunately most of the people are unable to support themselves and their families adequately. So they attempt to supplement their income with handmade items. Azizi Life purchases these handmade items at a fair wage and offers them for sale. The items are beautiful, wonderfully made and very affordable. The income that the artisans receive empowers them and enables them to afford many of the things that we take for granted; medical insurance, school materials, soap for hygiene, food for better nutrition, farm animals that provide food and manure to improve the soil quality.
Working together on these items also promotes a sense of community. Prior to this, sometimes the people would experience loneliness and isolation. Now they work together as a team to create items for resale.
I invite you to meet these Rwandan artisans and learn their story at: www.azizilife.com.
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, is it the only thing that ever has. Margaret Mead