I am so excited to finally share all the details on a project I’ve been working on over the past couple of months. I’m thrilled to be launching a limited collection of baseball caps I designed in support of five special women with Africa New Life!
caps for a cause
Some of you may remember my trip to Rwanda at the beginning of the year. As a quick refresher, I was invited by the Africa New Life team to witness firsthand (keyword: witness… I didn’t do a single thing but observe and share while there) the incredible work the Rwandan-founded and Rwandan-operated organization is doing to disrupt cyclical poverty in Rwanda.
How? There’s a myriad of amazing things ANL is doing, but in a nutshell, through providing children with access to food and education! This past January, together you and I raised over $10,000 for the Africa New Life school lunch program, something I will always be blown away by!
As you can imagine, COVID-19 has impacted life in Rwanda, as well as the role Africa New Life is seeking to play, in massive ways. Thankfully, the Rwandans of Africa New Life are rising to the challenge, and I’m so excited that we have the opportunity to help support their efforts!
One of the ways Africa New Life is making a difference is through its Women’s Vocational Program, which you can read all about here! This one-year vocational training program provides employable skills in sewing or cosmetology, alongside childcare for pre-school children, all infused with Christian discipleship. Each year this program moves 80-95 women and 40 of their young children toward a better life.
Earlier this year, we were able to make an impact on the Africa New Life budget food budget, benefiting thousands of children. Today, I’m hopeful that we can come together again… this time, to provide scholarships to the Women’s Vocational Program for five incredible women!
Friends, meet the five women that together, I’m confident we can support through the Africa New Life Women’s Vocational Program! Not only have they have given Africa New Life and me permission to share their photos and stories with you, but they are also so hopeful and excited about this opportunity.
Clarisse Niwerwibutso is 25 years old and single with two children. She is an only child and lives with her mother in a rental home. Her mother worked as a farmer when Clarisse was young and was able to put her through secondary school. Now Clarisse provides for her mother by finding temporary jobs like housecleaning and laundry. She loves sewing because her mother used to sew. Clarisse plans to become a master at sewing so she can support her children and teach others.
Antoinette Nyiraminani is 26 years old and married without children. Her mother died in childbirth with Antoinette, leaving behind eight children. Her father remarried quickly. School was difficult for Antoinette and she did not consider attending university. Instead, she looked for a job. When she could not find one, she found herself getting married young. Her husband has a small job which provides for the rent and a little food. They pray for children. She wants to learn sewing so she can get a job, and teach other women in situations like hers.
MARIE LOUISE NAHIMANA NDITONZI
Marie Louise Nahimana Nditonzi is 25 years old and married with one child. She grew up with two siblings and both parents, and she was able to complete secondary school before getting married. Her husband finds some work but it only meets their most basic needs. They struggle to pay the school fees for their son. Marie Louise’s goal is to learn how to sew so she can support her family and teach others.
Manirahari Naome is 20 years old and unmarried. She has three siblings, and both parents. Her father is disabled, and her mother doesn’t have a reliable job since she cares for the family. Manirahari completed Secondary 3 (ninth grade) but could not afford to continue. Her siblings dropped out at the same time. Their life is difficult, and the family relies upon one of the sisters who uses her small income to buy food. Manirahari’s goal is to learn how to sew so she can begin working, and support her family.
Akayezu Assoumpta is 20 years old and unmarried. She is a middle child with four siblings, all raised by her mother alone. Akayezu completed secondary school, but university was not possible due to cost. She describes herself as always dependent on her mother. Her goal is to open a sewing co-op to earn income with others. Akayezu wants to work hard and not only be self reliant, but also to meet the needs of her family. She dreams of returning to school and earning a university degree in land surveying.
I love how similar in age many of us are with these five ladies. Antionette and I are just a year apart, and my sister is nearly Clarisse’s age! What a huge honor that we have the opportunity to be a part of their stories and their amazing futures.
Now, for the hats!
It’s no secret that this is a hard time for everyone, and I wanted to go further than simply asking you to hit a donate button in order to reach this goal. So my wheels were spinning… what could I create that would be super fun, very on-brand, and enjoyable by everyone, no matter age/size/etc? Voila, a small collection of embroidered baseball caps came to be!
I was inspired by the three beautiful, bold stripes of the Rwandan flag, the happy shades of pink I’m always drawn to (taken from this website), and the simplicity and versatility of a white baseball cap. After showing Andrew the first mockup, he expressed how he wanted to jump in too… and lo and behold, the khaki stripe style was born.
Andrew and I are huge baseball cap fans, and have loved wearing these around this week. I think you (and your guys!) are going to love them, and am so excited to get them in your hands!
So head here to grab one for yourself… and maybe a few for friends! :)
The cost of one woman’s attendance in the Vocational Program is $1,800 per year. I am praying that together, we can raise the nearly $10,000 needed to make the Women’s Vocational Program a reality for Clarisse, Antionette, Marie Louise, Manirahari and Akayezu! I’m happy to share that 100% of the profits are going directly to the scholarships of these ladies!
If you aren’t interested in a hat, it’s not in your budget at this time but you still want to jump in, or you’d love to give more to this effort, I have a donation link here, where you can start giving today! Every single dollar counts, and if we are able to surpass our goal, the funds will go to other scholarships for the Women’s Vocational Program!
I’ll be sharing more in these hats in the coming days over on my Instagram Story, and will create an Instagram Highlight tab for you to refer to. When you receive your hat, I’d absolutely love for you to share a photo of it on your feed or story and tag me… I’ll be reposting each one on my story!
I know firsthand how powerful it is when women come together to support other women, and I’m praying that this coming Tuesday, we are able to richly bless the lives of Clarisse, Antionette, Marie Louise, Manirahari and Akayezu with this fundraiser! I am so grateful for this incredible community of women (you!!), all the fun we’ve had over the years, and especially the moments we’ve been able to team up to make a difference.
Love from the Sunshine State,