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13 January 2011

Beautiful Cards. Better Lives.

Beautiful Cards. Better Lives.

Between April and June 1994, Rwanda was devastated by genocide and war with a death toll of nearly 800,000 in the space of only 100 days. Ravaged by war and diseases such as AIDS, now an estimated 8% of the population are orphaned. Rwanda is currently dependent on foreign aid and will require sustainable businesses to lift the country out of poverty.

The inspiration for Cards from Africa came to British founder Chris Page in 2004 through a Kenyan doctor who had started a similar endeavour to generate income for women in a slum in Nairobi. Chris teamed up with Rwandan artist Gabriel Dusabe and together they learnt to make paper and create simple card prototypes. Their first employee was a young orphaned woman named Ariette. After one month they asked her to bring another friend to begin training but she brought two! Shortly after, twenty more orphaned youth were brought on board and the business was born, making beautiful, handmade, Fairtrade cards.

At the heart of Cards from Africa is a desire to provide dignifying employment for orphaned young adults who are responsible for at least one younger sibling. God has a heart for the poor and marginalised in society and faith requires action. As James 2:15-17 says: 'Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if not accompanied by action, is dead.'

Currently we have 63 Rwandans on staff, but our desire is to provide steady employment to at least 300 young people in Rwanda by 2015, modeling sustainable job creation in Africa. In order to make this possible, we need to sell 80,000 cards a month! This can be done, as people catch our vision and partner with us to make a difference.

If you wish to read stories of changed lives from our employees or learn how you can get involved in Cards from Africa, please visit www.cardsfromafrica.co.uk today.