Many people have unleashed hidden skills and potential during the pandemic, such as 25-year-old Josée Eliane Ganza Kwizera, who spent the lockdown period learning crochet and knitting skills that eventually turned into a clothing business .
Looking at her crochet items, it’s easy to notice just how talented this young girl is; it makes sweaters, crop tops, scarves and bags, to name a few. As a fashion lover, she was inspired by various models and constantly found herself looking for new models on the Internet.
During the 2020 lockdown, she worked to develop her skills. With school closed, she had nothing else to do, so she asked her mother, who made scarves for her, to teach her how to crochet. After learning some skills, she started making small items to pass the time and at some point she started making tops for herself.
“I started making crop tops and scarves for myself and was surprised that my friends liked them and asked me to make some for them. I never thought I would make clothes for others, or even that I would start my own clothing business, but that started to change after I realized how much people liked my work,” says Ganza.
After learning to crochet, the young entrepreneur also took the time to learn knitting from a woman who knitted sweaters. In 2021, after learning even more skills, she started making crochet items for her business. This led to the start of a business, Unique Crochet. She now creates a variety of outfits for men, women and babies.
According to Ganza, when she started her business, she worked from home and only used a hook, however, she now has a machine and her own place in Ziniya, Kicukiro.
“In Rwanda, crochet and knitting are not developed even though we have schools to learn from. The machines we use here are outdated compared to the current machines on the market today. Our work would be much easier and faster if we were well equipped, but they are very expensive.
“I get discouraged by people who say crochet is outdated and for people who aren’t educated. However, it gives me strength because I love it and know it’s worth it. I was also able to give work to people who helped me during the crocheting and knitting process,” she says.