Salha Kaitesi is the founder of Beauty of Rwanda an online enterprise working with basket weavers in her native Rwanda. Like the team here at Ethnic Supplies, Salha believes in empowering African women through business.
Our paths crossed a few months ago on Twitter and she agreed to be profiled for readers of this blog.
1. Please introduce yourself to our readers. Who is Salha Kaitesi
I am a British Rwandan trying to make a difference in the lives of the women in Rwanda. Devoted mother. Brutally honest. I would like to think am a good friend to have. (I hate answering this question)
2. What is Beauty of Rwanda all about
Beauty of Rwanda is about empowering women in Rwanda through the selling of their handmade crafts. These women are the bread winners of their individual families and weaving is the only means of earning a livelihood for them and their children. These women are hard working and an inspiration to us all.
3. When did you get started and why
The idea came into place in 2009 but the Beauty of Rwanda website where we sell the crafts from was launched in 2010. I wanted to help the women in Rwanda. There is so much that can be done for Rwanda, one has to just look deeper in order to find their calling. This is mine. I hope to make a difference in the lives of these women.
4. Where are you now and where are you headed to
We are still in the early stages of the business having launched just 9 months ago. There is still a lot to be done before we can sit back and watch the company standing on its own two feet. I am enjoying the journey though at times its difficult especially when things don’t go according to plan.
5. I understand that you work with women in Rwanda- please tell us about that
The crafts we sell from our website/online shop are hand woven by women in Rwanda. These women survived the 1994 Rwandan genocide and like i mentioned earlier, weaving is the only source of income. Beauty of Rwanda finds a market for their beautiful crafts. Some of the women are HIV positive having been raped during the mentioned genocide. They need all the support we can give them. All they want is their dignity back.
6. What would you say are your greatest achievements so far
Having the courage to go through with the plan of setting up Beauty of Rwanda.
7. What are your challenges and how do you address these
One of the biggest challenges is the logistics. It does take time and is expensive.
8. Does technology play a role in your business and if so how?
Are you kidding me?… We are all about technology. We wouldnt be able to do our job without it. We are on facebook, twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, Youtube and almost launching on Google+. Technology is it!
9. What advice would you give to anyone wanting to follow in your footsteps
If you feel like the chips are all in place, even though there will always be doubts, just go for it – Better to try and fail than to never try at all.