'We don't want a donation, we want a business.'

'We don't want a donation, we want a business.'

It's hard enough to keep a business afloat these days, much less develop a hit product for one of the largest department store chains in the U.S. But that's exactly what the women of Rwanda are doing with a basket weaving business whose end product is sold in Macy's, reports CBS news.

It certainly isn't your average African aid project. When Terry J. Lundgren, Chairman and CEO of Macy's, first heard about the project from American founder Willa Shalit, he expected to see a charity. What he got instead was a proposal.

"I was prepared to make a donation," he said. "And [Shalit] said, 'no no. We don't want a donation, we want a business.'"

It's precisely this business aspect that makes the project sustainable. Last year, the women sold 40,000 baskets in the U.S., and their income is double the Rwandan national average. (View a photo essay about the weaving process here).

You can learn more about these inspiring women in this video:


Watch CBS News Videos Online

Curated news and insights about innovative, market-driven solutions to poverty explored through news, commentary and discussion.

Learn more »

Global Envision newsletter