Bulu Mango works in the Acholi Quarter of Kampala, Uganda, a community largely populated by people internally displaced by the Lord’s Resistance Army war. Most of the women working for Bulu Mango are single mothers caring for upwards of 8 children who are given a chance to earn a much needed income through their work.
Gahaya Links is a Rwanda-based initiative that provides work for rural women artisans by creating a market for they’re weaving. Thanks to the supplementary income provided, women report they are now able to afford health care, own bank accounts, start local businesses, and access healthy food.
At Gone Rural, over 750 rural Swazi women earn a living by weaving highly intricate baskets, bowls, and placemats. In Swaziland, rural families suffer from illiteracy, high rates of HIV/AIDS, and extreme poverty. Through participation in Gone Rural’s skill training courses, these women are able to provide for their families.
As a social enterprise in Madagascar, Ivahona brings much needed work to talented artisans who would otherwise be hard-pressed to find a market for their handcrafted goods. Despite being rich with natural resources, Madagascar is one of the poorest countries in the world.
Maasai Women Development Organization (MWEDO) works to give a voice to pastoral Maasai women in remote, impoverished regions of Tanzania. Through the creation and sales of beaded jewelry (designed and produced in traditional fashions), Maasai women can bring themselves out of extreme poverty.
Sabahar is a fair trade enterprise that celebrates Ethiopia’s age-old textile traditions, combining handspinning and hand-weaving with contemporary design and craftsmanship. Sabahar currently employs 50 people at its workshop in Addis Ababa and engages another 100 artisans who spin and weave in their own homes or in cooperatives around the city.
In Kenya, roughly 85% of the deaf community is unemployed with women facing heightened discrimination and mistreatment. Sasa Designs by the Deaf was founded in 2011 to combat the stigma of deafness, and to offer jewelry-making jobs to deaf women who otherwise may never have been able to earn a living.
Few jobs are offered to South Africans with little formal education, but at Streetwires, 120 artisans in Cape Town and Johannesburg earn sustainable incomes through the sale of their wire and bead creations.
Swaziland Fair Trade (SWIFT) is a member-based organization that works with 25 groups to employ 5,000 artisans. SWIFT member groups provide a wide variety of artisan jobs including weaving, jewelry-making and ceramics and provides their artisans with medical care and education programs.
For over 100 years, artisans of Tigmijou, Morocco have been weaving local water reeds into beautiful products. Today, the Tigmi Bag Association is one of the largest producers of reed baskets in Morocco and the popularity of the Tigmi Market Bag serves as a primary source of income for the community.
Tintsaba works with 900 Swazi weavers to create jewelry from locally-sourced sisal fiber. In addition to earning a living, homeopathic healthcare is provided for the artisans from mobile clinics, and HIV/AIDS awareness courses are taught regularly.
The weaving of traditional Bolga Baskets is a major source of income in Bolgatanga, Ghana where 90% of people live below the poverty line. TradeAID was founded to provide fair trade wages to these artisans, as well as provide support to women entrepreneurs.