Rosemary Frank writes about AfriBead artisans
Posted by Linda Edwards on
The latest from Uganda 2019
We have just returned from visiting the AfriBeads artisans in Uganda and we are excited to share with you the latest developments!
Just in time for the Sydney Gift Fair at Olympic Park, we have selected gorgeous designs in African kitenge fabric to create a new range of skirts and dresses. See the stunning photos from our fashion shoot in Uganda with our beautiful model, Charity. In homewares, there are new styles in the traditional tribal baskets and market bags.
Our group from Australia worked with the women in Uganda to develop new products to sell in Uganda. Beautiful scented hand-made soaps feature essential oils, Shea butter and coconut oil from a Ugandan plantation. They complement the range of gorgeous scented candles developed last year which are already selling well in Uganda at the Makindye Country Club and the AfriBeads shop. We also worked with the women on making wax wraps from natural Ugandan bees wax and the colourful African fabric. It is a great way to achieve a zero waste policy by using remnant fabrics from the new fashion range.
The women have now started attending weekly produce markets in Uganda at Heritage and Rainbow schools with their new soap and candle range. The AfriBeads shop in Kampala continues to work well as both a meeting place and retail space with steady sales to locals and tourists. The shop located in Makindye was established 12 months ago with the help of Rotary and a lot of hard work from a team of volunteers from Australia. This visit we were fortunate to have Brian from Brisbane as part of our January group who taught the women a new financial management system.
The group is also seeking Fair Trade Accreditation. Hafswa, the coordinator of AfriBeads Uganda, worked with us to start the detailed process to apply to become a member of the World Fair Trade Organisation. AfriBeads is already an endorsed Fair Trader of Australia, and this extra accreditation will give the artisans of AfriBeads greater access to the international market.
And the final news is a new baby! Aidah is a hard-working member of the AfriBeads Uganda team and is the retail manager of the AfriBeads shop in Makindye, in addition to making beautiful jewellery. She has now welcomed her first son, a brother to her 4 daughters. The women are able to balance the family income and care for their families by working at AfriBeads. Aidah is able to send her 4 girls to school, giving them a great start in life, unfortunately not the norm in Uganda.
We are looking forward to continuing working with these wonderful women this year!