We had been waiting a long time for this day, and finally it arrived! The graduation ceremony for the first group of graduates from the Art Innovation Incubator!
What a journey it has been! From the delayed start of the program due to the political instability in Burundi in 2015, to beginning the program and realising that literacy and numeracy would need to be an integral part of training, to the end of the course – with graduates who have excelled and who show a confidence and pride in themselves that we are so happy to see.
The Graduation Day was also a time for us to gather all of those people who have helped to get Kaz’O’zah Art and Kaz’O’zah Keza to where they are today. The clients who continued to purchase products made by the artisans through the upheaval of 2015, the companies who put their faith in locally made artisanal products rather than importing from overseas. The organizations who partnered with Kaz’O’zah Keza to train artisans and those organizations who came to Kaz’O’zah to learn traditional craft techniques.
Our vision is for artisans to learn technical skills, but also to be equipped with business and entrepreneurial know how, and the confidence in their own abilities, to operate independently. The Graduation Day was the artisans’ chance to shine. And they were inspiring! Artisans took guests on tours of their departments, and talked to them about their training, work and products.
We also had help from a group of incredibly motivated young people from the American Corner, RNJ+, and Bright Kids organizations. They were on hand to make sure all the guests were having a good time and helped out in any way they could. We are excited to continue working with these young people in the future, opening up opportunities for them in diverse fields.
As you can see from the photos, we had a fantastic evening. We gratefully appreciate the generous support of Ecocash and Brarudi, without which this event would have not have been possible (or nearly as enjoyable).
And thank you to all those who attended, those who helped out, and most of all the graduating artisans!