The project between Mercer students and women of Rwanda tackles an issue of national importance in Rwanda today: creating skills and job opportunities in Ubudehe I and II. Ubudehe is the classification system used to organize the economic levels of Rwandans from I to V with I being the group that needs the most assistance. Mercer’s goal is to be an effective partner to lift the women and their families out of poverty.
Mercer has been working with women in Ubudehe I and II for years, but students are limited to spending a few weeks in Rwanda at a time. Imwe was created as a way to dedicate more time and resources to these women and assist them year round in their business endeavors.
After a trip to Rwanda in the summer of 2021, a marketing research class was created at Mercer that is dedicated to helping a group of seamstresses achieve their dreams of expanding their brand into the United States. This class provides consistent support year round and works to bring Imwe's products into a global market. This brand has the opportunity to be a major success now that Mercer students and staff have committed more resources and time to these women and their families.
Ubumwe Family Design
The women pictured below are behind Ubumwe Family Design, IMWE's first partnership. Their names are Alvera, Alice, Justine, Epiphanie, Eugenie and Claudine. The word ubumwe translates to "unity" in Kinyarwanda. Two years ago, these women had separate tailoring businesses, but they realized there is strength in unity. These women came together and formed one collective partnership. Their dream is to sell their products in America. Each of these products have been handmade by these women. Keep scrolling to learn more about these women and their stories!
Meaning of the Logo
The Name: Imwe (em-way) translates to: "one" in Kinyarwanda
The Meaning: Imwe translates to "one," which can exemplify how the people of Rwanda are now united as one Rwanda. The women are united through their business partnership, the country is now united post-genocide, and now you as a customer, are united with them, all through one brand.
The Logo: The logo is a combination of a rose and a basket. Roses are the national flower of Rwanda. Baskets are a symbol of unity in Rwanda.
The Colors: The blue, yellow, and green colors in the logo are pulled directly from the Rwandan flag.