Riyo Rumoday is an artisan group in the Horn of Africa that partners with Dreamer & Co. They are artists, sisters, and friends.
Riyo Rumoday was established as a business association in 2013. The first group of artisans that established the association were trained to create handmade paper bead jewelry by a local non-profit through a vocational training program. When they graduated from the program, they were eager to continue growing their skills and selling their jewelry locally. In 2017 Dreamer & Co entered into a mutual partnership with them to create timeless and beautiful hand-crafted jewelry. sold worldwide.
When the artisans first began they were mostly single women in their early 20s and within a few years became a group of young married women with children. In 2020, during the pandemic, the group morphed and changed once again. Now the group is once again young, single women between the ages of 19 and 34.
They come from vulnerable, low-income communities and have not completed formal education. All of these women told us that before they had the opportunity to work making jewelry they were sitting at home and had no opportunities to support their families.
The women are hardworking and determined. They each have big dreams of becoming successful business owners.
It's one of the many reason why it's our desire to help them access a more global market so they can provide more for their families and in turn flourish in their daily lives.
Now they are able to work full-time and contribute to their family’s needs and make a better future for themselves.
Before Deka started bringing home a monthly salary, her mother said they would buy food when they had money. Deka is now the main source of income for her family and they are able to better provide for their daily needs. Deka has also empowered her mom by teaching her how to sew and she is bringing empowerment to the next generation by sending her sister to school!
Dreamer & Co + Riyo Rumoday Partnership
Before Riyo Rumoday partnered with Dreamer & Co there was little opportunity for them to sell their products. In the region where the artisans work there is not a thriving craft market. They are able to sell at bazaars put on by ex-pats in the area but the sales from those events do not provide a livable wage.
The artisans live in one of the most expensive countries in Africa. Not earning a livable wage makes it difficult for them to be able to pay for things like electricity, transportation, and fresh fruits and vegetables. Since partnering with Dreamer & Co in 2017 have more than doubled their income and are now receiving full-time livable wages.
Because Riyo Rumoday is their own business association they pay rent for their workspace. It is important for them to take ownership over their workspace and pay rent, however, Dreamer & Co has partnered with the non-profit and Riyo Rumoday to help pay a portion of the rent to lessen the burden while they grow.
Each new artisan that joins the artisan group is trained and vetted for several months before officially joining as a member. The training involves learning how to roll paper beads as well learning how to assemble jewelry you see at Dreamer & Co. We partner with a non-profit on the ground to help the women identify and train new members.
Each bead is made by hand through a process of measuring, cutting, rolling, and varnishing. Depending on the length, width, or thickness of your paper strip can change the entire shape of the final bead. These women only use scissors and varnish to hand-roll each and every bead used in their jewelry.