Itara Artisans update


Betty Uwizeyimana

Betty is one of Itara Studio’s Legacy Artisans. Since her sewing school graduation in 2016, Betty has had a special place at Itara Studio. Because of Betty’s disability (suffered during the Rwandan Genocide) as a leg amputee, she could not physically work to support her family of 5 kids. Her acceptance into the Itara sewing program was an answered prayer. Betty’s sewing machine was adapted for her to learn, train and sew by powering the manual machine with her arms. She worked this way for 6 years before Itara Studio could present her with an electric sewing machine and she mastered the use of the electric machine with just 2 days of training in the summer of 2022!

Betty is a wonderful inspiration for all of the new moms coming into our program. Just watching her determination while she works gives encouragement and hope for all who face the daily challenges of being a working mom raising kids in Kigali, Rwanda. Though Betty is quiet when working with the rest of the Artisan moms, she works very fast when sewing her favorite products—the Ubwiza Box Pouch and the new Signature Bag. Betty’s smile brightens the Itara Studio Workshop. The light that is Itara Studio would not be complete without Betty as part of the Legacy Artisan Team.




Claudine Uwingabire

Claudine is the last of our Itara Studio Legacy Artisans. Claudine’s sense of humor and easy interaction with the rest of the Artisan moms bring so much joy and laughter to the Itara Studio workshop. Her expertise helps trouble shoot any challenges with production. Claudine’s energy is contagious and helps bring out the different personalities of Itara Studio’s new Artisan Moms. Claudine brings a special comfort that helps the new Artisan Moms feel accepted and part of the Itara Studio family. Claudine is such an asset when bringing the different levels of Artisan Moms together as one. She was also an invaluable asset with helping the US Itara Team bond with the Artisan Moms because of her ability to translate our conversations from English to Kinyarwanda during a summer mission trip to Rwanda in 2022.

Claudine supports her family of 3 kids, who are all as outgoing as she is, with big personalities and humor that bring joy and laughter to any gathering. Though Claudine has mastered the entire Itara Studio product line, she finds most joy and fun sewing her favorite products, the Eshatu Pouch Set and the Ubwiza Box Pouch.




Libelee Nyirabagwiza

Libelee has been part of the Itara Studio family since her graduating class of 2017. She fit right in with the Legacy Artisan team as she continued to learn and master the Itara Studio product line and built loving relationships with them. Quiet and humble are great words to describe the first impressions of Libelee. BUT her love of song and dance bring out the best part of Libelee—her smile for the crowd and her love and worship to the Lord.

Libelee supports 4 kids as an Itara Studio Artisan. She is vital to Itara Studio as a bridge and glue between the Legacy Artisans and the new apprentice Artisans. Libelee has mastered all of the Itara Studio product line, but her favorite product is one of Itara’s most challenging to produce: the Eshatu Pouch Set.





Odette Mukamuseruka

Odette is another one of Itara Studio’s Legacy Artisans. She truly embodies God’s plan and purpose for Itara Studio. Odette is covered with many scars throughout her body, from wounds sustained during the Rwandan Genocide. And though the wounds have healed, she continued to feel the pain and the hopelessness it put upon her life. Itara Studio’s sewing program helped Odette to feel joy and happiness through relationships with the other Artisan moms, who also struggled to work and support their families. Learning to sew and producing beautiful products provided an opportunity for Odette to experience an abundant life— a life with dignity and self-worth that she had never known before.

Odette is an amazingly hard worker and can sew many of the Itara products per day. She is dedicated and conscientious. Of all the Itara product line, she holds the record of sewing the most Guheka Knapsacks, which happens to be her favorite product of the Itara Studio line. Odette plays an important part of the Itara Studio’s Legacy Artisans and the impact she has with the new Artisan moms. She is just as inspiring with her family of 2 kids, becoming that beacon of hope for their future.




Florence Mukamuhire

Florence joined our Itara Studio family at the start of the COVID pandemic in 2020. Though she was accepted into our program as an apprentice, when COVID restrictions began lifting the Itara Studio Rwanda team discovered Florence’s sewing skillset was better than expected. With one young toddler swaddled to her body and another playing nearby, she learned how to sew the easier product lines quickly. By summer of 2022, she was beginning to sew 2 of Itara Studio’s more challenging products, the Eshatu Pouch Set and the Guheka Knapsack, which are now her favorite products to sew. Florence is working towards supporting her family of 3 kids as she continues to gain sewing experience through our Itara Studio Artisan team.




Yankurije Tuyisenge 

Yankurije also joined our Itara Studio family at the start of the COVID pandemic in 2020. Like Florence, Yankirije showed great potential which allowed her skillset to grow quickly once she was able to work with and learn from Itara Studio’s experienced Artisan team. Yankirije is working towards supporting her family of 3 kids. Her product focus is on the Hope bag, which is part of Itara Studio’s original product line. With her growing talent, Yankirije will soon advance to more challenging products.







Clarisse Umutesi 

Clarisse joined the Itara Studio family as an apprentice during the start of the COVID pandemic in 2020. The restrictions in Rwanda kept her from being able to come in to the workshop to learn from Itara’s experienced Artisan moms; so essentially her opportunity to support her family of 3 kids was put on hold. As most moms starting our program, her dedication grew with devotion for the other Itara Artisan Moms and their influence upon her life. Clarisse showed diligence and commitment in the summer of 2022. She began showing up consistently and is now mastering the Hope Bag.





Chantal Nyiramasoso

Chantal was the last mom to join the Itara Studio family as an apprentice into the sewing class of 2020. She, too, suffered under the Rwanda COVID restrictions which kept her from being able to come to the Itara work shop to learn how to sew from Itara’s experienced Artisan Moms. Even as an apprentice, the Itara Studio Ministry supported all of the Artisan moms with food during the pandemic; Chantal and her 7 kids included. Since the summer of 2022, Chantal’s determination to support her family has given her the courage to learn how to sew. She is now mastering one of Itara’s original products, the Hope Bag.