Dokmai trains and employs Rwandans who struggle to find stable employment for fair wages. Workers are empowered and encouraged to come up with their own new designs to constantly improve the quality of these unique leather gifts. Currently, Dokmai ensures the livelihood of thirteen Rwandan families.
Dokmai's founder Bernadette Umunyana adheres to the principles of fair trade and social responsibility. Her commitment is to be attuned to the individual needs of each member of her team. Methods of subsidy to employees include payment of children's school fees, loans to build small homes, and workhour flexibility to meet family commitments. Healthcare is paid for each employee and a meal subsidy is provided for all the staff.
Juliet was orphaned as a child, the youngest of 9 children. After secondary school, she trained to become a shoemaker, traditionally a very male-dominated profession in Rwanda. It was a difficult life. In 2015, she was offered training and a job at Dokmai Rwanda and became their first woman employee. Now she is given credit for half of the staff being female.Juliet has become highly skilled and now helps train new employees. When asked what she hopes for in the future, she replies; “to be the best I can be at making beautiful leather products”.
Juliet likes knowing that every item she makes will bring the new owner satisfacti and improve the soil fertility and biodiversity of Eswatini.