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Since The Beginning

by Abi Hewitt

“We are not alone, and we will continue the work of telling women all over the world who have been trafficked that they are not alone either. Such knowledge as this is a precious pearl, and I carry it in my heart, always.”

-       Becca Stevens, We are not alone

In 2008, Becca’s friendship with Nicholas moved into a pivotal partnership between Thistle Farms and Ikirezi, becoming our first Thistle Farm international partner. Geranium, the key ingredient in Thistle Farms’ Bug Spray, comes directly from the fields of Eastern Rwanda.


Thistle Farms Global was established in 2014 with a handful of partners from around the world. But years prior, Becca whilst on a trip in Rwanda, found herself enjoying the essential oils of the first organically certified company in the country. Ikirezi, founded by Dr. Nicholas Hitimana, capitalized on the opportunity of the country’s plentiful farming land and created an organic facility that produces the purest of essential oils to come out of Rwanda.

Economically the country is still affected by the trauma and devastation after the 1994 genocide. Within 3 months, an estimated 1 million people were murdered, leaving families torn apart and thousands of children orphaned.   

It is Ikirezi’s mission to directly impact their community in Rwanda through fair wages and training programs. They provide training for local farmers to learn to cultivate the plants and herbs needed for the essential oils. Widows and adult orphans are given a holistic opportunity to improve their lives and rebuild their communities.

Blossoming from this partnership, our Global program has grown to 26 partners. From Rwanda to Mexico, India to Peru; our Thistle Farms Global Partners are constantly growing, both in numbers of employed women and the support in their communities around the world.

“Rwanda is in its infancy of the essential oils market, with Ikirezi on the cutting edge for growth” said, Dr. Nicholas Hitimana. Because of their growth and the innovative ways of the essential oils industry, Thistle Farms is excited to grow its partnership with Ikirezi in the future, providing more women the opportunity to empower themselves and others.


Don’t forget to try the bug spray out for yourself. Support Ikirezi here!

“By you saying ‘yes’ to women’s freedom in Nashville or Milwaukee, you are saying ‘yes’ to women’s freedom around the world” - Becca Stevens

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