The Faces of Kate Spade & Company’s On Purpose Program, Part 2

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Last year, I was invited to participate in the first ever AYA Summit for digital influencers at Google’s DC headquarters. The Summit focused on issues facing girls and women in the developing world and was organized by ONE Girls & Women (a program of the global ONE campaign co-founded by Bono).

AYA was a profound experience. It opened my eyes and my heart to some of the most remarkable and inspirational people on the planet. One of those people is Sydney Price, Senior VP for Social Responsibility at Kate Spade & Company and a self-described intrapreneur, who founded a program called On Purpose that is changing the lives of women (many of whom are moms) in Rwanda.

Through On Purpose, Kate Spade & Co. works with 150 women artisans who are suppliers for several brands of the company. And unlike most other corporate trade models, this program isn’t charitable, and instead is designed to develop local, independently viable, women-led businesses that bring enormous benefits to entire communities.

On a recent visit to Rwanda, representatives of Kate Spade & Co. interviewed some of the moms in the program on behalf of Mamalode. With just this tiny window into their personal and professional lives, we hope you will take a moment to get to know them and this program, and to acknowledge how we are all at once different and the same.

~Dori Gilels, Publisher

Meet Elisabeth Mukandayambaje, 25, single mother of one 7-year-old son.  

What is your average day like?

I wake up at 6AM and then prepare breakfast. I come to work and stay until noon. I go home for lunch and then return by 1PM. I then work until 5PM and then return home to do home activities and chores. Cooking, cleaning. All of that. And then I go to sleep.

Is there anything that you would like mothers in the United States to know about you or about being a mother in Rwanda?

I am responsible for myself and my son. And I will do everything I can to make my son feel safe and to be taken care of.

One year later, how has your life changed from before having this job until having it now?

One year ago, I was having to ask my family for everything. Now I’m able to take care of myself and buy what I need.

Meet Felicite Mukankusi, 42, raising seven children.

What is a normal day like for you?                    

I wake up every day at 5AM and cook breakfast. Then I get ready for work. It takes me 2 hours to walk to work. I work until noon, then I go have lunch with my mom, who lives nearby. I return to work by 1PM and then work until 5. I then walk 2 hours home and I am very tired. The kids at home have prepared everything so I am able to go to sleep early.

What is the biggest challenge for you as a mother?

There are two challenges. The first is trying to raise seven children. The second is having to walk to and from work every day. Its very hard but I have no other choice. This is my life and I am doing my best.

One year later, how has your life changed from before having this job until having it now?

One year ago, I was not able to buy fabric or dresses or the things that I wanted. Now that I have this job, my life has changed. I’ve been able to buy things for myself and do things on my own.

Images provided courtesy of Kate Spade & Company, credit Jeremy Stanley.

Want to learn more about these incredible women? Check out Part 1 of the series here!


About the Author


Dori Gilels is Mamalode's Publisher and COO. She once told her husband there isn't a single thing she started that she didn't finish. Need we say more?

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May 2015 – Better Together
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