I’ve been a devoted Kate Spade New York customer for years, but it was only this week that I learned what makes their On Purpose accessories range quite so special. Every piece is made at Abahizi Rwanda (ADC), an employee owned handbag manufacturing facility in Masoro, Rwanda which the Kate Spade brand helped to establish five years ago.
Kate Spade’s “I am the heroine of my own story” film introduces four of the over 200 women now working full time at ADC and the impact it has had on their lives. These women are mothers, daughters, wives but now also working professionals earning a fair wage and receiving employee benefits such as paid holidays and maternity leave, healthcare and classes in life skills.
I’ve been completely inspired by these ladies speaking of their resilience, strength, dignity and perseverance having seized the chance to empower themselves and plan for their futures, an opportunity that would have been unimaginable during the 1994 genocide.
The female population have been instrumental in rebuilding the country and have led the employment growth in region. With Kate Spade’s help finding their place in the supply chain, ADC are set to take on more global clients this year allowing more local women to follow their example. As my favourite quote from the video says “Tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it”, so let’s all get planning.