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Weaving Hope for Rwanda's Future

For over 35 years, Maxine and Bob Burton, owners of burton+Burton, have generously contributed their time and resources to many civic causes and initiatives in their home communities. However, in 2017 the Burtons took an opportunity to make an impact more globally, in the emerging country of Rwanda. 

Ravaged by tribal conflict in the closing decade of the 20th century, Rwandan society has slowly bounced back in the intervening years. The country continues to make strides developmentally and economically, providing hope for the future of its youngest generations.

However, some problems persist. For all the recent economic growth, Rwanda remains a poor country, with limited resources allocated to the more remote, rural communities.

Roughly half of the population lives in poverty, and only 13% of Rwandan children attend preschool, where there are programs providing nutritional assistance. As a result, 50% of rural Rwandan children experience stunted growth due to malnutrition. 

Learning of the desperate situation in the Rwandan countryside from long-time friend Mark Dirks, the Burtons joined an effort to build schools and provide nutritional support to children in the most prone Rwandan communities.

Shortly thereafter, Weaving Hope was formed to help organize the required planning, fundraising and marketing of the initiative. The venture drew on the talents and resources of burton+Burton; Mark Dirks' digital marketing firm Beacon Technologies; the Hope on a Thousand Hills mission, a ministry of the Anglican Church; as well as missionary John Craig and Rwandan entrepreneur Abraham Konga. 


To fund the building of the schools, Weaving Hope would sell traditional, handwoven African baskets made by artisan women from the Gitarama village, deep in the Rwandan hillside. Baskets sales through the Weaving Hope and burton+Burton websites would provide the needed capital – and, as an added benefit, help the Gitarama artisans monetize their skill set with a steady demand for their traditional products. 

Today, the very first Weaving Hope-funded preschool is already in operation in the city of Nkuzuzu, having just completed construction in April. Every additional basket sold helps Weaving Hope expand its reach to more rural Rwandan communities. 

Each basket is a one of a kind creation of sisal, native grasses and reeds, dyed in vibrant colors. An excellent conversation starter, these traditional vessels can be used as a table centerpiece, wall hanging or bedroom decoration. They also make great gifts for family and friends. 

With each basket purchased, you are helping to provide education and regular meals to the children of Rwanda. Shop now and help us reach our goal.

Learn more about Weaving Hope and keep up with our progress at