Rwandan Nativity Scene: Where Does All the Money Go?

Just before Christmas, I was looking through a Deseret Book flyer when I noticed an advertised Rwandan nativity scene offered for $60. The price shocked me; it seemed incredibly high. I had purchased an identical one in Uganda a few months previously, and hadn’t paid anywhere close to that amount. But I couldn’t remember what price I had paid.

Small Rwandan Nativity Scene

Small Rwandan Nativity Scene

In January I returned to Africa. At a retail handicraft shop, I paid less than $7 for the identical nativity scene.

On my return to the U.S., I did an Internet search, and found an online offer to sell the nativity scene in question for $55, with a promise to contribute an unspecified amount to a Ugandan orphan charity.

So we have a situation where the African artisan(s) buys the wood and carves the handcraft for less than $6 ($7 less the Ugandan shopkeeper’s commission).

So Deseret Book was selling something for 15 times (computed based on $6 less the cost of the wood and other expenses) what the African artisan is probably earning. And Deseret Book promised nothing. There is something dramatically wrong with this picture.

I will sell you an identical nativity scene for $40 (or more if you so chose). And the money is tax deductible. Contribute through Just mention “nativity scene” on your contribution. Be sure to provide a mailing address. All of your money will go toward the construction of playground equipment in Africa.

This entry was posted in Africa, Art, Social Justice and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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