Building Azizi Life: Our journey to a new multipurpose, solar-powered facility
Home Sweet Home
Azizi Life was born in the offices of Food for the Hungry in the small city of Muhanga, Rwanda. Since that time in 2008, we have continued to work in that same space- a large, 6-bedroom rented house with gardens and annex rooms. It’s been a lovely place to grow up, and the team has done a marvelous job of utilizing and maximizing the space available.
Multiplying to Fullness
As you know, we have been praying for multiplication and God has been answering. Azizi Life is growing in staff; artisan partners; order scale, volume and pace; packing logistics; and product collections.
Our beloved headquarters is now bulging and overflowing. As renters, we are not allowed to make significant structural changes to the property and consequently, we are often using rooms for multiple purposes – our craft shop is in the same room as our office, one of our storerooms doubles as a fumigation room, we do sisal dying from a bike shed in the back yard, honey processing is done in a converted bedroom and candle making in an outhouse.
In truth, we have now reached a point where the lack of space is impacting what we are able to achieve. Each part of the Azizi Life group needs more room and better-designed areas to improve efficiency and grow our work to the next level. The security and flexibility of our own property will enable us to boldly move forward in our vision of multiplying our impact.
Azizi Life’s Current Home
Our Vision For Growth
Each part of the Azizi Life group wishes to do more but is hampered by the space available.
- The Experiences team wants to create a café and guesthouses where visitors can be hosted, and a dedicated area for the drumming and dancing lessons.
- The crafts team wishes to increase the product development they do with dedicated workshop areas and specific areas designed for dying sisal, fumigation, packing and storage of samples and export products. Plus an area for artisan training and quality checking of products.
- The Bible study team would like a suitable meeting space and a dedicated prayer room.
- The adult literacy team want space to run more teacher training.
- The nonprofit team would like quiet spaces for welcoming hurting neighbors
- The Beeutiful Creations team needs a clean processing area for honey bottling and a separate one for candle pressing and another for lip balm and soap manufacturing.
- Everyone would like a dedicated shop area separate from the office where we could better display all the work we do.
Praise God! We found land, kind donors have already agreed to cover the main building costs, we have the architectural designs, and construction starts soon!
The Path to Our Acre
In 2017, our leadership team was approached by a group of donors who were seeking out a project which would lead to multiplied impact. So began a process through which God led us to design our own facility and search for a suitable piece of land. After many ups and downs, in mid-2021, we finally purchased a piece of land! The donors covered the cost of the one acre property as well as contributing a large sum to pay for the main building costs. We are so thankful. Now we have completed the architectural designs. Construction should begin soon! Check it out on Google Maps here.
Designing a New Home: Welcoming, Multipurpose, Solar-Powered
At Azizi Life, one of our values is environmental stewardship. We want to be good caretakers of God’s creation, and we aim to continue to advance in making this a reality in our product offerings, packaging, and operations.
Azizi Life has a long-term goal of carbon-neutrality.
The growth we have experienced in the last few years is phenomenal, working with over 60 staff (21 full time and 40 part time) and 800 artisans and beekeepers. However, with that growth comes an increasing environmental impact. We are now ordering and exporting more baskets, bowls and candles than ever before and with each handmade product comes a carbon footprint. We do not want the artisans to rise out of poverty into a community that suffers from the horrors of climate change and so we have been trying to counter act these effects. For years, through our Renewable Resources program, we have providing financing for resources like solar lamps, fuel-efficient stoves and water filters. These are all designed to reduce the amount of fossil fuels burned in the rural communities of Rwanda. But with the new building comes a new opportunity to move one step closer to becoming carbon neutral.
As you can imagine, our operations use electricity, and as we expand our services in the new location, our power needs will increase. However, with the intelligent design of the new building (maximizing light and airflow) and the use of solar power, our expectation is that we can dramatically reduce any need to use the main power grid. This will not only save us money but will also reduce our carbon footprint and environmental impact.
Funding a Complete Solar Power System
This Giving Tuesday, we’re raising $15,000 to install a complete solar power system for Azizi Life’s multipurpose facility, to be built in 2022. In a region where electricity is relatively expensive and often unreliable, solar power will provide an environmentally sustainable and self-sufficient solution that would allow operations to continue despite any interruption of service. By shifting to solar power, we take another bold step toward our future goal of being a carbon neutral organization.
This Cyber Monday and Giving Tuesday, all profits from our solar-inspired collections go to fund the Azizi Life solar power system!
SUNRISE WOVEN BOWL SET
DAYBREAK WOVEN WALL HANGINGS
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