Nyamirambo Women’s Center (NWC), a Rwandan Social Enterprise, was launched at the end of 2007 by 18 Rwandese women living in Nyamirambo, Kigali. Together they created a project which aimed to address gender-based violence, gender inequality and discrimination. Today, NWC’s mission is to provide education and vocational training to women who do not have the means to pay for such training on their own, so that they can gain better opportunities for employment.
In pursuing this mission, NWC has 3 overall objectives:
- To strengthen the institutional and organizational capacity of NWC
- To promote and empower women through capacity development and employment
- To promote women and community-based tourism
To fulfill the mandate of these objectives, NWC offers free classes in literacy, English, basic computer skills, handicrafts and sewing, empowerment trainings on gender based violence and trainings on responsible community based tourism.
At the end of 2013 NWC launched the product line “Umutima,” which means “heart” in Kinyarwanda. With this project, NWC trains and employs women from the community to create a large variety of women’s accessories, children’s clothing, and home decor products. At the moment there are over 50 women employed by Umutima as seamstresses. Umutima and NWC have grown into a unique, self-sustaining model where the profits earned through Umutima are used to fund NWC initiatives, in addition to providing benefits and a fair wage to the seamstresses. NWC is also sustained by income generated by the increasingly popular tourism offerings in Nyamirambo. Adhering to the principles of Responsible Community Based Tourism (CBT), these tours give tourists a uniquely personal insight into everyday life and local social culture. Also as a part of their CBT initiative, the Center offers basket weaving and traditional cooking workshops.
Finally, at the beginning of 2014 a small community library across the street from NWC was inaugurated, offering books in Kinyarwanda, English and French. The idea behind the library is to encourage reading among the youth in Rwanda and to promote the idea of “one child, one book” in a country where many children do not have the opportunity to read and discover the world through books.