KICUKIRO - A jewellery making project has been launched in a bid to improve the social welfare of women living with HIV-Aids by helping them generate income.
Dubbed ‘’Mary Fisher Rwanda beads of hope”, the project was inaugurated yesterday by the Minister of State for Investment, Vincent Karega, at Gahaya Gifted Hands Centre in Kicukiro district. The project has 45 members who have started making bracelets and will in future spread to other provinces.
Karega called on the women to live a life of purpose, adding that the project doesn’t need any university education but a spirit of unity and team work.
“You should know that you are loved, and many people are concerned about your wellbeing. You will get more partners when you demonstrate that you can help yourselves,” Karega said.
The project is a brainchild of Mary Fisher, a UNAIDS goodwill Ambassador on HIV/AIDS issues, and Janet Nkubana, the Managing Director of Gahaya Gifted Hands Centre.
Mary Fisher is an artist, author and speaker who travels the world advocating for those who share her HIV-positive status.
Fisher said that when she designed the bracelets, her intention was to create fine jewellery that would create employment.
“Women who share poverty and AIDS can be empowered only by employment. And without empowerment, there is no reason to live,” she said.
Fisher called on people to speak out on their HIV/AIDS status, saying that this sets the pattern of getting rid of stigma as well as avoiding passing the virus to many others.
Nkubana said that the bracelets project will improve the social welfare of the women, and help them to avoid defaulting on taking Anti-retroviral drugs.
Veneranda Musabimana, one of the HIV-positive women, praised Gahaya Gifted Hands Centre for having played an instrumental role in improving the social welfare of her family. She expressed hope that the new project would give her more income to take her five children to school.
The launch of the project was also attended by Agnes Binagwaho, the Executive Secretary of National Aids Commission (CNLS), and Josephine Odera, the UNIFEM country director in Rwanda.