Disclosure: As a member of The Mission List, I received Indego Africa products for review in order in to learn about this program. I also purchased items with personal funds. No additional compensation was received.
Indego Africa empowers independent businesswomen artisans in Rwanda, and provides for us a gorgeous marketplace of handmade, fair trade accessories, jewelry, home goods and gifts.
I enjoy every single purchase I make, from the avocado at the grocery store to my children’s sneakers to the living room rug. But when shopping at Indego Africa’s marketplace, I reveled in my purchases even more than usual. I knew that each item I chose was handmade by fellow women across the globe in Africa, and that the sale of their art enables them to support their families and forge their own sustainable businesses. 100 percent of the profits of these goods go to fund training programs for Rwandan women.
“Indego Africa is an award-winning, design-driven 501(c)(3) nonprofit social enterprise that lifts women-owned businesses in Rwanda toward sustainable economic independence through access to markets and education.
Indego Africa partners with for-profit cooperatives of more than 400 women artisans in Rwanda and exports, markets, and sells their jewelry, accessories, and home decor on its online store, to more than 80 retail stores across the U.S. and Europe, and at major brands like J.Crew and Nicole Miller through cutting-edge design collaborations.” — Indego Africa.com
It was difficult to identify favorites amongst the products offered, as they all possess a global cool, merging locally-sourced materials and traditional Rwandan crafting with modern covetable objects. Of the home goods, I swooned over the Yellow Star Pillow Cover ($36). I love its mixed fabric patchwork style.
All of the jewelry is exquisite, but I was particularly drawn to the Wrapped Cowhorn Earrings (currently on sale for $25). They are statement earrings — a nice change from the ubiquitous statement necklaces. The hoops are hand-carved by the artisans of the Umurimo Cooperative and then wrapped with hand-dyed imigwegwe plant fibers by the women of the Imirasire Cooperative. I feel humbled when I wear them, knowing two different women worked on a beautiful product I am now wearing about my privileged American life. Talk about beautiful perspective…
I am a devoted cuff bracelet wearer, and the Imfumzo Bangles (currently on sale for $15) are my very favorite cuffs at the moment. Made from native palm leaves, they are light as leaves — perfect for summer when I do not feel like wearing a big metal bangle in the heat — but still make a big, cuff style impact. I received one for review and went back and purchased two more. They are hand-woven and hand-dyed by the master artisans of Huguka Cooperative.
I am proud to say that Indego Africa will now be my go-to shop for gifts for birthdays and holidays. By sending a girlfriend one of these African treasures, I know that in a small way I will be giving to another woman somewhere, too.