Why We Love The KISANY Project: The GIVE WORK Campaign
Through this emotional post (tough at the beginning, but we promise really a positive and inspiring end), we want to present to you an organization close to our heart. This is Kisany, an amazing association that aims to encourage women in the Democratic Republic of Congo to take control of their own lives.
“In the Democratic Republic of Congo, there is more danger to be a woman than to be a soldier,” said Patrick Cammaert, Major General.
The DRC is a vast country stretching across the heart of Africa. Unfortunately, the country is being ravaged by a terrible civil war that’s been going since the 1990s. Millions of lives have been shattered and many destinies shaken due to this situation. Among the casualties, the conflict has deeply affected women. Forced displacement, malnutrition and sexual violence are part of the trauma and hardships they have endured. Now, they have to rebuild their lives after having lost everything. Many widows and young women today have to sustain themselves and their family’s needs without any support.
War is not the only tragedy endured by the populations of eastern DRC. Nyiaragongo Volcano erupted in June 2002, 5 kilometres north of Goma. The eruption destroyed 40% of the city. This disaster has wrecked the little balance that locals had managed to rebuild. It’s in this dramatic situation that the organisation of Kisany was founded. We usually say that a tragedy can bring out a powerful and unexpected force that drives us to do great things and that’s what Kisany shows us.
The Kisany project was born at the dawn of the year 2002. At first, seven seamstresses and a tailor determined to take the control of their destinies, composed the team. Armed with courage and hope, they proceeded to rebuild their lives. With the invaluable support of Nicole Esselen, coordinator of the association “En Avant Les Enfants”, who engaged in the region for many years, Kisany project began development. Kisany’s mission is to train women to hone their talents to ensure the production of upscale and exclusive accessories made with Belgian linen. To date, over more than 100 women have been trained to the highest quality standards. Kisany’s products have been well received in Europe. The hard work of the seamstresses and the support of committed volunteers allowed exporting Kisany’s products around the world. This ensured that the women of Kisany have regular income and hope for a better future. It’s often said that women are at the heart of everything. Women are love, courage, patience, hope, and perseverance. All these names denote the strength of these women. Despite experiencing the worst atrocities, they still possess the determination to succeed against all obstacles with humility.
“Women are love, courage, patience, perseverance, and hope.”
Melissa met the Kisany Women in 2014 at an event in London. Touched by the story of these women, she was immediately convinced of the importance of taking part in this wonderful project. She was inspired by the story of these women with different lives and experiences; and the fact that they shared the desire to take their destinies in hand and realize their ambitions.
The first collaboration between Kisany and BYOS was born at the end of that year. Goma seamstresses made amazing pouches for our precious “Little Bar of Success”. The products were then launched on Virgin Atlantic Airline. This partnership was a great success and helped to highlight the work and the talent of these women. The following year, BYOS and Kisany worked again together to make new pouches; this time it was for the leading Social Network, Facebook.
This activity ensures these women a fair wage and represents a real opportunity to secure their futures. Only 5% of the population of Goma have regular jobs, and to them it is more important to have work than financial gain. This allows them to be able to afford homes, send their children to school, get access to healthcare and be able to support themselves independently.
This year, BYOS reiterates its commitment to Kisany by supporting their new project, “The Give Work Campaign”. Kisany Seamstresses will design the lovely pouches again, with a small heart delicately embroidered by hand to remind us that love conquers everything. As part of this campaign, each pouch equals one day of work. These new products will be launched today on the Virgin Atlantic Airlines!
Through consistent work Kisany helps women find Life, Joy, Pride, Dignity and Freedom. We are so proud to contribute to it.