Macy’s commemorated 10 years of its Rwanda Path to Peace initiative with a special customer event at Macy’s Herald Square in New York City on Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2015. The festive in-store celebration featured live musical performances, traditional Rwandan food and a ceremony honoring the women who made this project possible.
This fall, Macy’s is offering customers special commemorative designs to honor the decade-long partnership. Originally launched in fall 2005, the program affords an opportunity to create economic sustainability and stability for the women weavers of Rwanda impacted by the country’s civil war and genocide, and is now the longest-lasting program of its kind.
“Macy’s Rwanda Path to Peace program was one of the first-ever ‘trade-not-aid’ efforts and is the longest-enduring, impacting thousands of women throughout the country of Rwanda,” said Willa Shalit, co-founder of the program. “This important initiative, in partnership with the Rwandan weavers’ cooperative, Gahaya Links, has enabled women in Rwanda to take care of essential human needs, send their children to school, buy health insurance and malaria nets, and to help rebuild their communities. We are so grateful to Macy’s and its customers who have responded with open hearts, so that Americans can directly support peace and prosperity from one continent to another.”
Macy’s Rwanda Path to Peace program brings the age-old art of Rwandan basket weaving to customers in the United States, with product available in select Macy’s stores and on macys.com. The vibrant colorful baskets range from a classic 9-inch fruit bowl to a 16-inch large statement piece, with retail prices ranging from $30 to $60.
“As an early and dedicated advocate for this program, I am so proud of the decade of work we have been honored to do through our Rwanda Path to Peace project,” said Terry J. Lundgren, chairman and CEO of Macy’s, Inc. “Through this program, Hutu and Tutsi women, representing both sides of a devastating genocide, have come together to weave baskets of peace. From my first visit to Rwanda, my life was permanently changed by the strength of the weavers I met – knowing what they endured and all they have taught us about courage, forgiveness and grace. I want to thank our customers for continuing to support this effort and for helping us make a difference in the world.”