Hey guys, so here I am with another late blog post. I really wanted to take a few moments to tell you about a co-op called More than Sparrows because it’s truly amazing. I love the co-ops here in Rwanda, they truly encourage people and provide opportunities that people otherwise wouldn’t have.
So More Than Sparrows is a little shop at the bottom of the most uneven steps you’ll ever find. There’s a yard with a nice tree where women will work on different pieces. Then there is the building. The front room is filled with women of all different backgrounds, but their backgrounds all have one thing in common: prostitution. All of the women working at the co-op are former prostitutes. And I don’t point that out to judge or degrade, in fact, that’s what makes More Than Sparrows so wonderful.
The sewing cooperative gives these women a chance to learn a skill, make money, and have support from one another. They’re required to sign a contract agreeing to stop prostituting themselves in exchange for work there. It’s amazing. It’s truly taking something broken and making it into something beautiful.
And beautiful are the things they make. The women make aprons, jewelry, paper bead necklaces and bracelets, and their signature sparrow and owl ornaments, as well as a plethora of other items. They then sell these items to support themselves and the business. It’s a wonderful system that speaks life to these women. You can really tell that the place is filled with love.
Immediately when we walked in we were greeted with warmth and kindness. And if you look at the women for a moment, you can see the impact of having this opportunity in their eyes. I felt hope there. It was incredible.
One of my favorite things is actually due to my host mothers daughter, Grace. Grace did an internship there, and she painted the once drab walls with Bible verses in Kinyarwanda. I found myself staring at her familiar handwriting and admiring the love she poured into making it beautiful, because it deserves to be a beautiful place.
The women there are learning how valuable and precious they are. They’re reminded everyday with different verses on the wall that they are loved, uniquely made, and powerful. They’re reminded of the redemption Christ brings. I can’t help but smile writing about it.
So now every time I look at the few pieces I purchased I’ll be reminded of these things:
1. I am beautiful and powerful too, just as Christ has brought redemption to these women, He does so to me as well.
2. Every situation can be made beautiful, those women have testimonies to prove it.
3. Those women themselves. I’ll remember their faces, their smiles, their talents, and hopefully it will encourage me to play my part in supporting them and others like them.
Sorry this was another short post, but I wanted to share. It’s small shops and cooperatives like these that make Rwanda truly a place of empowerment. I admire that immensely.
May you be inspired as well.
All my love,