Kisany: Living Linens
As part of our ongoing commitment to support social enterprises, we recently invited Manuela del Marmol and Nathalie Cambier from Kisany: Living Linens to tell our customers about the exceptional work that they do for vulnerable women in East Africa.
Since 1996, there have been over 6 million deaths and many thousands of victims of torture and violent crimes (often of a sexual nature) due to war in Democratic Republic of Congo. Although the war between the D. R. Congo and its neighbours ended in 2003, sexual violence has continued to be used by armed groups and militias to create instability in communities in eastern Congo. Over 200,000 women have fallen victim to sexual crimes over the past 15 years and D.R Congo remains to this day one of the most dangerous countries in the world to be a woman. Neighbouring Rwanda is slowly rebuilding itself from the 1994 Rwandan Genocide, and many women and girls have been left in charge of supporting entire families. There is little hope, little dignity and little future for many of these women.
Kisany’s founding mission is to give financial stability and dignity to as many women in these war-torn countries as possible. Kisany provides women with the finest quality Belgian linens and trains them in embroidery so that they can produce European standard products to sell. The highly intricate designs are brought back and sold to international buyers, with all profits being directed back into the local communities.
Teaching women to embroider and providing them with a professional skill offers them independent means with which to support themselves and their families. Since Kisany was founded 15 years ago, over 200 women have been trained as embroiderers and over 1,300 beneficiaries have been impacted as a result of their inspirational work across the two countries. With the initial help from Kisany, some have now even developed their own businesses.
If you are interested in learning more about Kisany’s story or would like to support them, please visit their website.