Jessica founded Noonday Collection as a fundraiser to help bring their son, Jack, home from Rwanda. Through the entire adoption journey, so many other doors were opened that have impacted so many lives! Jack's adoption was facilitated by a true Noonday spirit, Jennifer Jukanovich, who has lived with her husband and kids in Rwanda for the last couple of years. The majority of the women in Jennifer's neighborhood have not received an education past sixth grade and if they have completed secondary they are still struggling to find work. Jennifer asked about the possibility of sending a group of women through sewing school in order to train them to create a new product line for Noonday Collection.
When we let you know that we wanted to send eleven women through school to become seamstresses, you responded by sending in scholarship money for them! After spending several months in school, singing on their way to class every day, the women finally graduated in May! They have been working hard all summer to bring you our first ever collection from Rwanda. We partnered with Matilda Jane Clothing on the designs, and we know you are going to buy up every last piece!
For Jessica, these women represent Jack's biological mom. Though Jessica will never know the woman who brought her the most precious of gifts, partnering with these women, in particular, creates a lifelong connection. By purchasing their goods, you are giving people like Astrida hope.
Astrida is the daughter of a village chief from the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Her husband, Zed, was a respected teacher. In 1998, rebels came into her village and killed her father and captured her husband, Zed. She escaped with their two-year old son, Joel, to Rwanda. Her husband was captured and beaten by the rebels to the point where his back is in constant pain, he walks slowly and cannot stand for more than an hour. Her husband escaped to Rwanda and searched until he found his wife and son. They have struggled to find consistent work because of his injury. At one point, she told him to leave and return to the DRC where he could find work. He said they would never separate again. Recently his back injury forced him to resign from his teaching position at a local Congolese school. With four children to feed and send to school, they did not know what to do. Astrida says, "This is the first time I have sensed hope in years."