This is a story of one of the cooperatives born after fifteen weeks of sociotherapy sessions. The walls of the Twiyubake atelier in Base sector, Rulindo district, are fully decorated with Kitenge and other bright coloured fabrics. Upon entering the room, one is welcomed by the cheerful greetings of the tailors working there, and the rhytmic sound of their sewing machines. As their name Twiyubake (“Let’s build ourselves”) implies these people came to realize that they were given another chance to make their lives and the lives of their progeny better by; standing up for themselves and using their skills to make a living. The members of this cooperative chose the tailoring trade because some of them already knew the trade and they taught others.
Twiyubake is run by seventeen persons (both men and women). The majority of the members has passed through different sociotherapy groups that took place between 2014 and 2016. As a result, the cooperative comprises a group that has very diverse backgrounds. Some of its members are single mothers, while others were sex-workers in the past. There are also other members who have faced family conflicts of different scope and intensity. The first group that passed through sociotherapy, decided to work together. They felt that they could understand each other well, as each of them had passed through sociotherapy. Later, people had also participated in other sociotherapy groups, joined them.
Nowadays, the tailors of Twiyubake work in their atelier on a daily basis. Some of them work here every day; others can be found here once (or multiple times) a week. They design and make clothes and bags out of Kitenge and other fabrics, but they also repair and adjust clothes or material brought to them by community members.
To support them, Community Based Sociotherapy Rwanda and its partner organizations have used the bags made by Twiyubake in it conferences, so far this cooperative have met a resounding success.