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Resilience Through Weaving

Just like many other Burundians, Esperance fled her home with her six children in the middle of the night in late 2017 to escape approaching government militias. Due to an ongoing and violent conflict in her home country, this was already the third time in just a few years Esperance had to flee to neighbouring Tanzania to bring her family to safety.

Esperance is a founding artisan of WomenCraft's refugee artisan group at the Mtendeli Refugee Camp in Tanzania. In light of lacking income opportunities at Mtendeli, Esperance played an integral part in setting up the weaving cooperation and supporting other refugee artisans. Today she coordinates orders directly with WomenCraft, one of our East African partners, supervising production timelines and product quality.

Mtendeli Camp

The Mtendeli Camp is located in Northwestern Tanzania and hosts over 50,000 Burundian refugees. In total over 400,000 Burundians have fled the country in fear of conflict and persecution. Life in the camp is hard. The food is rationed and often not enough for large families living in makeshift tents. With a lack of income opportunities in and outside of the camp, the refugee artisan initiative is a great way to generate earnings for the roughly 50 female artisans involved with the project.

"I am proud of my weaving and I'm so happy to be leading our group to help artisans grow and produce high quality products."

From Refugee Camp to Global Markets

Burundi has a strong weaving tradition. Esperance was taught traditional weaving techniques by her mother when she was little. She is happy to use these skills to generate income and provide for her family in the camp. She is excited to see her products - woven bowls, seagrass baskets, wall art - sold around the world.