The story behind this exclusive new bracelet

The story behind this exclusive new bracelet

“One thing I’ve learned is that we can achieve so much more together than we ever can alone.” – Esperance Butoyi, female artisan from Rwanda

This holiday season, we’re excited to launch a new exclusive product: our bright sweetgrass bangles, which we made in partnership with our friends at Indego Africa.

Indego Africa works with more than 1,000 women in Ghana and Rwanda to produce beautiful products using traditional methods and local materials. Our bangles were crafted by women of the Imirasire Cooperative in Rwanda’s Bugesera District, which includes over 130 artisans. Many of them have worked with Indego Africa for nearly a decade, and are instrumental in mentoring other women in their time-honored weaving techniques.

To hand-craft these bangles, the artisans start with sisal (soft fibers that come from inside the agave plant), which they dye with vibrant hues and wrap tightly around bundles of sweetgrass to create the final product. They get the colors just right by combining salt and oil, and slowly adding in the dye until the whole mixture becomes rich and bright – we love how eye-catching our bangles are! Depending on the size and shape, each product can take 2-7 days to make.

The artisans’ hard work doesn’t just yield bright bangles – it also provides the opportunity for them to build bright futures for themselves and their families. By partnering with Indego Africa (and through the support of partners like ONE!), they are able to earn a fair and consistent income that helps them to feed their families and invest in their own communities.

“Being an empowered woman means being someone who can not only make positive changes in her own life, but can also bring positivity to the lives of others,” says Violate Mukazigama of Indego Africa’s Gahembe Cooperative in Rwanda. “To be empowered is to empower other people as well.”

The proceeds from these bangles, and all of Indego Africa’s products, also contribute to education programs for the artisans. Built from the belief that education is key to long-term poverty alleviation, Indego Africa provides courses that range from leadership and entrepreneurship to financial and business management. This education is instrumental in helping the artisans become thriving businesswomen and community leaders — women who are able to run their own enterprises, provide employment opportunities of their own, and continue to enrich themselves and their communities.

“Indego’s education programs gave me the skills to manage a business and the courage to believe in myself,” says Florence Mukabagwira from the Twiyubake Cooperative in Rwanda.

“I feel proud to be an entrepreneur because now I am the decision maker,” says Meditrice Tuyisabe, also part of the Gahembe Cooperative. “I no longer need other people to provide everything for me.”

We were so inspired by this mission, and the incredible talent of the artisans, that we decided to launch these exclusive bangles. Each and every one is woven together by traditional techniques, and with the future in mind. Find yours now in the ONE store — and maybe pick up a second pair as a gift for another empowered woman in your life!


These bright sweetgrass bangles were made in partnership with our friends at Indego Africa.
These bright sweetgrass bangles were made in partnership with our friends at Indego Africa.

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