Joy Ndungutse and Janet Nkubana are Rwandan women who were born in a refugee camp in Uganda. In 2003 they started a business assisting women to manufacture their own goods and sell them internationally. They began with six women working under a tree. Their task was to weave baskets of a quality that would stand the scrutiny of the international market. The goal was that these women would work together: despite their differences, despite the trauma of genocide, despite the obstacles of ill health, new babies, poverty, widowhood, stress and despair.
From that small group, the cooperative called Gahaya Links (after Janet and Joy’s grandfather), has grown to over 3,000 women! In one week, an average woman can make a set of three bowls, or two small friendship baskets. If any items don’t pass inspection they are returned with advice on how to correct the problem, or the maker is advised to sell them in the local markets – the most difficult way to be paid.
These images are from Gahaya Links’ training facility in Kigali. The women are humble, with a great sense of pride and accomplishment. It was a pleasure watching them work, talking with their neighbors, laughing, and enjoying each other’s company.
All images copyright Adam Bacher. All rights reserved. Absolutely no use without prior authorization.
When your vision becomes a reality, how will you tell your story?
I’m a commercial photographer and photojournalist based in Portland, Oregon, since 1991. I specialize in commercial location photography for businesses. The majority of this work is for architectural, corporate, editorial, and public relations clients, and appears in a variety of print and electronic media. You can view samples online at: www.adambacher.com.
Since 2007 I’ve been taking a month each year to devote my time towards humanitarian missions.
Three trips have taken me to Rwanda, for a project documenting the countries recovery from the genocide in 1994, which claimed the lives of one-million people in the course of 100 days. Images and stories from the places I visited are featured on my blog site at: www.bachersblog.com.
This November, I’m going to Haiti for 4 weeks, to help two non-profits working tirelessly to save and rebuild lives following the earthquake in 2010. As well as donating my still and video images, I plan to create a traveling print exhibit, and a multi-media educational presentation to build awareness and remind us of Haiti's needs. If you’re interested in project please see this link: http://igg.me/p/44329?a=249927&i=shlk
My commercial work makes this humanitarian effort possible. I exhibit and speak nationally, offering a provocative visual and journalistic insight into contemporary Rwanda and the recovery, reconciliation, and reconstruction of the of the country. This message of hope, peace, and diversity, has been enthusiastically received at peace conferences, corporate gatherings, and in public schools.
All aspects of location photography including: Architectural, Corporate, Editorial, People, Public Relations, Travel and Photojournalism.
Congrats to u Joy and Janet, thank you for helping the Rwandan women especially the poor. May God bless u
I love these baskets, I am now the proud owner of 4 baskets, and one tray, 2 fabric shopping bags, and 1 lunch bag.
I am happy to support my sisters in Rwanda!
in helping them to a better life!
Dear Gahaya LinksI am a Tanzanian , I am overwhelmed with joy to see your program at the Capital TV.I saw Madam Joy talking,Congratulations .You real inspire me as a women ,that African women can do alot to the economy of their country and create employment .I’m looking forward to learn more from you. wish you the best.God Bless you all.
C’est merveilleux ce que vous faites. Je vous flicite et vous souhaite le meilleur. Je vis en Suisse et verrai bien ces objets trouver du succès ici. Soyez bénis vous êtes des femmes remarquables,
Congratulations for the initiatives Rwanda needs innovative people like you.
I wish you the best!
Joy Nkubana is somebody I have known since we were both in refugee camps, later at the East African Community as low cadre employees – we have come a long way baby! and the difference she has made to the lives of thousands of women makes me proud to be a friend and co-survivor in the sence that we grew up from the ashes and are where we are today – more importantly that we have created employment and aspired to inspire other women – Joy knows what I mean. Go baby, go! and I love you.
Thanks for sharing your knowledge. This is very useful.
These are beautiful and compelling photographs. I work for the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market (www.folkartmarket.org) and we had the great pleasure and honor to have Janet Nkubana from Gahaya Links through Fair Winds Trading attend the Market in July 2008 to sell their stunning baskets. They earned over $40,000 in 2 days and went home with greatly needed cash to help improve their center and contribute to many social programs that improve the quality of life of the women and their families. Janet is returning on July 11 & 12, 2009 to Santa Fe, New Mexico to join another 125 artists from over 40 countries at the Market. We invite you all to come to the Market and see more of the work of Gahaya Links and other artists and coops from around the world.
This website is very nice and colorful too. Its nice to have something to show others where you attend church and to show all the smiling people filled of the goodness of the Lord. You have a wonderful website here. May God rich bless you always.p
Your site is very interesting and useful
Your work is marvelous!!t
Thank you for sending me notice of your trip – your photos are great and this is a very interesting project. Hard to believe it was 13 years ago that the genocide began, what a sad state of affairs our world is in – but how interesting that there isn’t observeable evidence of the trauma they have been through – the adaptable human spirit? I hope you have a safe journey, learn lots, keep an open heart and you’ll uncover many treasures! I’ll look forward to reading your blog. Randall and I send you our best –
WOW! the warmth in the people you talk about really shines through these images – they really give me a sense of being there with you. You know for a shooter, you can tie a word together or two. Must be that poly sci background 😉
Wow! All that on your first day. Great photos and an interesting story about the women’s co-operative. I’ll be following your experiences closely. I’m looking forward to learning and seeing more.