a Business as Mission Network:: Turn Good Business and Missions into Great Ministry: One Business That Is Getting It Right - Cards from Africa—“Beautiful Cards, Better Lives” <body><script type="text/javascript"> function setAttributeOnload(object, attribute, val) { if(window.addEventListener) { window.addEventListener('load', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }, false); } else { window.attachEvent('onload', function(){ object[attribute] = val; }); } } </script> <div id="navbar-iframe-container"></div> <script type="text/javascript" src="https://apis.google.com/js/plusone.js"></script> <script type="text/javascript"> gapi.load("gapi.iframes:gapi.iframes.style.bubble", function() { if (gapi.iframes && gapi.iframes.getContext) { gapi.iframes.getContext().openChild({ url: 'https://www.blogger.com/navbar.g?targetBlogID\x3d27430628\x26blogName\x3dBusiness+as+Mission+Network::+Turn+Go...\x26publishMode\x3dPUBLISH_MODE_BLOGSPOT\x26navbarType\x3dTAN\x26layoutType\x3dCLASSIC\x26searchRoot\x3dhttp://businessasmission.blogspot.com/search\x26blogLocale\x3den_US\x26v\x3d2\x26homepageUrl\x3dhttp://businessasmission.blogspot.com/\x26vt\x3d6117473324771524729', where: document.getElementById("navbar-iframe-container"), id: "navbar-iframe" }); } }); </script>
Business as Mission Network:: Turn Good Business and Missions into Great MinistryTurn Good Business and Missions into Great Ministry with News, Resources, and Tools from the leading businesss leaders, authors, pastors around the world

One Business That Is Getting It Right - Cards from Africa—“Beautiful Cards, Better Lives”

by Janet T. Jamieson and Philip D. Jamieson - Located in Rwanda, Cards from Africa is a Business as Mission enterprise that was started in 2004 by British expatriate Chris Page. The company employs youth who have been orphaned, many of whom work to support their younger siblings. Cards from Africa produces handmade greeting cards featuring
unique, indigenous designs.

Page writes: I started Cards from Africa . . . with a Rwandan artist called Gabi Dusabe. Both of us desired to use our different gifts and abilities to be a blessing to orphaned youth responsible for their younger brothers and sisters. We got paper that offices were throwing out and burning, and we re-pulped it, and turned it into our own hand-made paper.

Paying wages that are two to four times higher than the local average, the company believes that the solution to the severe poverty in Rwanda is through sustainable business development. Cards from Africa placed second in the 2006 BBC World Challenge, a global competition that seeks to recognize innovative, responsible, and sustainable business development. The company Web site notes:

Today, over 90% of the country is dependent on subsistence farming and pressure on the land is extreme. The vast majority of the population struggles to scratch out a meager existence and is often not able to afford the education necessary to improve their situation. Rwanda’s dependence on foreign aid, an amount higher than its business earnings, is equally unsustainable. A country’s inability to choose its own path of development is neither dignifying nor just.

Page believes that business is the only long-term solution to the poverty of Rwanda. He writes the following about the role of business in Rwanda:

Poverty is oppressing. I’ve met people in Rwanda who have lost relatives because of a sickness like malaria that could have been prevented with just a few dollars worth of medicine. Helping to reduce poverty is a very practical demonstration of God’s love, and creating sustainable businesses . . . [is] the way forward for Rwanda to lose the shackles of poverty.

In addition to making employment available to the marginalized, the company also provides holistic care for each employee.

Page writes, “We teach them for up to an hour every morning. Sometimes from the Bible, especially on very needed topics like forgiveness, peace and reconciliation, and sometimes on subjects like AIDS, malaria, sex education, etc.”

Cards from Africa is also committed to helping employees develop transferable business skills, as

Page explains: The business aims to employ at least one person whose job will be to help our staff start up their own businesses. Why? Ultimately, because we don’t want our staff to become dependent on Cards from Africa. So much so, we’ve told all non-management staff that they will only work at Cards from Africa for four years, and during those four years we will teach them as much as we can about God, themselves, others, financial management, how they can start up their own business, health, etc., and then it’s up to them to implement what they learn. We view Cards from Africa as a stepping-stone to a better life, not a crutch.

When asked in what ways he has seen lives changed by Cards from Africa, Page replies,

“We’ve seen lives change holistically. Their physical needs, and those of their siblings, have been met, they’re growing emotionally and spiritually, and they have hope and a purpose.” Page believes that God longs for “an emerging generation of Christians who realize God is calling them into business. I look forward to the day when Christian business people in Rwanda will serve as an example to the rest of the continent because they put God and His purposes first, second and third in their business.”

Excerpted with permission from Ministry and Money: A Practical Guide for Pastors by Janet T. Jamieson and Philip D. Jamieson, published in June 2009 by Westminster John Knox Press. Visit Cokesbury.com for more information or to purchase.

Labels: , , , ,

posted by Justin Forman | 5.18.2009 - 7:33 AM


Add a comment