The Empowerment Project

The Empowerment Project was inspired by the women of Rwanda. Strong, beautiful and like many of us trying to make a difference for their families by earning a living doing what they can. Rwanda is a country close to my heart. My husband is originally from there and he has family still living there.

In 2009 I visited Rwanda for the first time. I was at the lowest point of my life having just lost my unborn son. A few months earlier I had been made redundant. These two challenges together made me feel like I had nothing. When I arrived in Rwanda, I quickly realised my troubles were nothing compared to what others have faced.

It was Rwanda that inspired me to finally start my business. I realised that I was so lucky to have the opportunity to start out on my own and my fears of failure were in fact nothing. I had food on the table and shoes on my feet. I thought I had nothing when in fact I had everything! Things that cost so little in the UK, were out of reach for so many in Rwanda. I vowed that when I returned it wouldn’t be empty handed.

With my brother in law getting married in Rwanda in May, I grabbed the opportunity to start this project.

The Empowerment Collection

I have created The Empowerment Collection- a workbook and inspiring prints to be sold to raise money for sewing kits.

Every Empowerment Kit or set of digital prints sold = one sewing kit for Rwanda.

View the collection

It’s a simple as that.

Each year in Rwanda women try their best to find ways to create a living so they can buy food, medicine, school fees and supplies for their children. One way these women are rising above poverty is to use their sewing skills. Some have been trained by charities on courses designed to help them start up as seamstresses. Some are given sewing machines whilst others struggle to raise enough to put their skills into practice. Haberdashery supplies are costly when you have no funds to help.

The Empowerment Project aims to raise enough money to buy supplies for as many sewing kits as possible. The fundraising will last 7 DAYS. This gives me the chance to make up the kits before I travel at the end of April. In May, I will personally be delivering these kits by hand to women at Aspire Rwanda. Aspire Rwanda is a charity that works with women helping them to become self-sufficient and create income streams.

I worked with Peace Ruzage who founded Aspire Rwanda in 2007 to find out what her women needed me to bring. Each sewing kit will contain needles, thread, safety pins, knitting needles, wool, measuring tape, scissors and more.

These kits are our gift to these inspiring women who despite the atrocities they have witnessed still have hope and courage, strength and laughter.

To stay up to date with this project including photographs of my trip to distribute the Sewing Kits in May, please follow my personal blog at

Thank you, thank you, thank you for reading these words. It means the world to me.

Isa Maria x

If you want to help, please spread the word. If you want to buy an Empowerment Kit or just the Prints, you can do that too ;)

If you have any questions please contact me.