Mothers at the Market: Seraphine

Seraphine - All Across AfricaPhoto Courtesy of All Across Africa

We had the opportunity to interview Seraphine, an artisan working with All Across Africa, an inspiring artisan group we work with from Rwanda. Seraphine is experienced in basket weaving and has more than 30 years of experience weaving different designs of baskets. To hear from Seraphine, take a look at her interview below!

I was born in a family of seven children, When I grew up to six years, luck enough I went to school. Unfortunately, I didn’t go beyond primary eight due to limited resources at home with my parents, After dropping out of school at the age of 14, since then I had no occupation and that’s when I decided to join a small women’s weaving group, since in our region, weaving is the culture. As time came, I became experienced in weaving different designs and we could sell our baskets to (the) local market at a cheap price to get money for solving our basic needs.

After a certain period, I was chosen to be a group leader of that weaving group from our village and I worked hard to continue looking for more markets so that we can do weaving as a professional since I had realized that it can be a good business if we work in an organized way and do quality baskets. We went on getting support from the government of Rwanda in terms of training, and I became among the master trainers to go around the country training other women in weaving like in the Eastern Province. 

Now it’s over 30 years while I am doing weaving as a professional because it brings me more income at my home.

What does being a mother mean to you?

Being a mother, to me it means a lot. When I see all of my seven children grown up finishing studies to the level I didn’t reach at due to weaving that (I) am doing, I feel proud. Also when (I) am at home with my husband who has helped all the way long to raise up our children, it makes me feel happy as a mother too.

Seraphine with her family - All Across AfricaPhoto Courtesy of All Across Africa

How has working with All Across Africa and The Little Market impacted your life and your family’s life?

I achieved a lot for the seven years I have been working with All Across Africa, and my life changed totally before joining All Across Africa. The money I could get from weaving (before All Across Africa) was only to satisfy my basic needs I (had) myself as well as at home. But since I joined All Across Africa, I have managed to do a lot of investments in different things like buying land for farming, livestock cattle, goats and pigs, (and) renovating the house we stay (in), … electricity, etc. The biggest investment I did, which even I feel proud of from the money I get from working with All Across Africa, (is that) I have managed to educate/pay school fees for all of my seven children, which I couldn’t have done if I were still weaving the baskets to sell at the local market. Because at (the) local market, we used to sell at low price, and the difference is All Across Africa pays better prices. We participate in price negotiations, which is good for us. And when it comes to payment, All Across Africa pays the weavers at once. … It’s good for me because I manage to plan for my monthly expenses and I also do saving.

What is your favorite part of motherhood?

When I see all of my seven children grown up healthy and studying well being the best performers in their schools.

Also when (I) am at home with all my seven children and husband discussing of how we can plan for our future life development all together.

What have your children taught you?

They have taught me how to do savings with banks.

Also they taught me not to give up in difficult situations.

What is something you’d like to teach your children?

Respecting their elders as the Bible says. Respect is the source of wisdom.

Being hardworking children.

To love their fellow children and all the people.

Seraphine with Hand-woven Baskets - All Across AfricaPhoto Courtesy of All Across Africa

How has being a mother influenced your life?

I have learnt a lot from being a mother. One of them is to be social and help the needy in my society.

Being a disciplinary mother, which is a good example to our little children growing up and giving advices to our young generation.

Does your family support you in your weaving?

Yes of course. Since weaving is now the number one source of income at my home, my husband and the children as well do encourage me to work hard because they have seen life changing in our home in terms of investment, balanced diet/nutrient, clothing, shelter, etc. 

We loved hearing from Seraphine! To see our collection from artisans like Seraphine at All Across Africa, visit our site!

A special thanks to Seraphine, Alicia Wallace, and the All Across Africa team for contributing to our Mother’s Day series!

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