Kwizera – to hope, believe, have faith (Kinyarwanda)
To the south of Uganda lies Rwanda, a small country that once was best known for its many wildlife habitats, rolling hills, volcanic mountain range and mountain gorillas. That is, until 1994, when it became the backdrop for a genocidal massacre during which an estimated 800,00 men, women and children were killed. Today, Rwanda is still struggling to heal. Major issues include poverty, brought about by overpopulation and a poor economy, and AIDS. In spite of these obstacles, visitors find that the people of Rwanda are far from broken. Their hope intact, they are working for and looking to the future , which they steadfastly believe is full of promise and possibility.
The KWIZERA Design Challenge is all about resiliency and optimism, which are as plentiful in Rwanda as the abundant array of wildlife. Designers with a penchant for weaving may enjoy this challenge, as Rwandans are known to produce exquisite woven jewelry and basketry. However, no challenge is limited to any one material, and Rwandans also produce beautiful items made of cow horn, plant fibers, paper beads, metal, plastic and other recycled and natural items.