Gahaya Links is set for a prosperous year finale after securing a deal with Kate Spade, a prominent American fashion and designing company.
The local firm secured a contract to deliver 25,000 units of bracelets, bags, necklaces and other handmade jewelry.
Founded by businesswoman Joy Ndungutse, a designer by profession, Gahaya Links trains women in weaving, employs them and finds markets for their products.
A team from Kate Spade headed by its President, Deborah Lloyd, visited Gahaya Link’s premises yesterday, and interacted with the women weavers.
Ndugutse told The New Times that 100 women are working round the clock to complete the assignment, which is one of the biggest deals that the women empowering firm made since its founding in 2004.
Each bracelet costs $10.
“We have until the end of December to ship the products. All women at Gahaya are excited about this because it’s a great opportunity for them to make good money as well as showcase their talent on the international scene,” Ndugutse said.
“Partnering with Kate Spade gives us confidence, knowing that our products are sought by international fashion designers; it also offers a challenge to improve and learn new designs to compete favorably in foreign markets.”
Lloyd said that apart from buying their products, Kate Spade will seek to provide the women at Gahaya Links with professional trainers to teach them latest styles and designs to enhance competitiveness.
“We have a lot of ideas to share in terms of colors and shapes; there is high demand for handicrafts in America and Rwanda is an appropriate place to shop because it is has the capacity to become an all season factory,” Lloyd said.
“At Kate Spade we have a goal to empower women in poor communities of the world by providing them with market for handmade products, so that they can have an income to take their children to school and cater for their families”.
Drosera Uwimana, a mother of five, joined Gahaya Links in August 2008 hoping to get enough money to pay for her children’s tuition.
“I was not disappointed when I joined Gahaya Links because my income improved; I earn an average of Rwf 40,000 per month and I have been able to pay for my children’s fees and repair my house,” Uwimana said.
“These days we are busy because we have very many orders.”
Located in Kicukiro District, Kigali City, Gahaya Links, in partnership with Women for Women, an international NGO, began construction of new premises in Kayonza, Eastern Province, with modern facilities to create opportunities for more women.
Gahaya Links’ turn over for this year is expected to hit Rwf 400 million and targets to collect Rwf 500m next year.
Its major customers include Anthropologie Stores located in California and Segal Family Foundation, an international NGO.