Founded in Rwanda, the Nyamirambo women’s centre is a non-governmental organization that has transformed disadvantaged women through vocational training like sewing, handcrafts making, and literacy classes. It was formed in 2007 by a group of 18 volunteer women in Rwanda with a primary objective of increasing the empowerment of marginalized women through teaching them different skills including sewing, handcrafts, reading, writing, and computer skills and it later formed the umutima cooperative.
Also, it targeted teaching various skills to local disadvantaged and vulnerable women whose development was challenged by society marginalization such as gender-based discrimination, violence, poverty and lack of access to knowledge, among others.
The centre started with the help of a Slovenian NGO called ‘Peace in stitute’ whose partnership with the community ended in 2015, the centre received some support from the delegation of the European union to the republic of Rwanda in 2009 which stretched up to 2011 and since then, the centre has no any other sponsor but only from the volunteers who come in from time to time.
In addition, as time went on, the organizers of the Nyimirambo women’s centre directed its learners to putting their acquired skills into practice so as to generate income through sewing and handcraft selling which helps them to get profits.
At present, Umutima Cooperative has 40 members who carry out different activities including sewing and making handcrafts using Kitenge and sisal. It has been successful in training Rwandan women who are self-sustaining in society and also we reaching the goal of fighting marginalization of women in society, this was reported by the coordinator.
Important still, the organization has trained women members I how to use electronic sewing machines and their hands to make their products which include decorations, table clothes, bed spreads, children’s dresses, bags, necklaces, curtains, mufflers, baskets, jewellery, and women’s clothes, among others which they sell to travelers and also even local people earning them income and improving their households income.
According to Umugeni a member of the women’s group, all members are proud of themselves because of being able to make Rwandan products which in turn promote Rwandan culture.
However, despite of the achievements, the women centre has faced various challenges which among others include the following:
The difficulty in making international sales by the owners of the local products, this is because of the lack of quality raw materials, mainly ibitenge, to make competitive products that limit their production capacity. In Rwanda, the raw materials used don’t have the best quality, this was explained by Umugeni.
In addition, the lack of sufficient funds is also a challenge that is faced by the Nyirambo women’s centre; members lack sufficient funds to buy good equipment like enough modern sewing machines to produce many and high quality products. The lack of these machines also threatens and hinders the training of as many disadvantaged women as possible
However, despite of the challenges, the women’s centre looks forward to having branches spread all over Rwanda regions that will help women all over the country to acquire the help they need and also expand the market for the locally made products. It is the organization’s mission to operate in all regions of the country.
Also, the women organization is looking forward to make products that meet the international standards so as to broaden the sales, these increased sales will earn the members increased income which help them support their families, pay school fees for their children and improve their standards of living.
In conclusion, regarding to the goals, the Nyimirambo women’s centre aims at building a flexible group of members who will aim at making competitive products and no new members are joining the group at present so as prove he flexibility of the current group building a strong team that will compete at the international level.