Bombolulu’s disabled workshops employ 160 people from all over Kenya. Their four workshops are: jewellery, textiles, carvings and mobility, the latter workshop is for producing their own aids such as crutches and wheelchairs. They are members of WFTO (World Fair Trade Organisation).
Founded in 1969 as a rehabilitation centre, they were initially largely supported by the Association for the Physically Disabled of Kenya. Now their wonderful skills help them earn their own income despite the current enormous difficulties they face because of COVID-19 - the drop in tourist numbers and decrease in wholesale orders because of the shut down in retail stores. Hence our new website! Now you can buy their lovely jewellery online.
Jewellery is the best-selling product they make and they use mixed materials, including Masai and Turkana beads, semi-precious stones, silver plate, brass, bone, soapstone, and recycled materials, for example, telephone wire in their safety pin and telephone wire bracelets. The earrings start with a brass base and then they overplate them with three layers of silver. They have a small foundry and kiln on site.
If you ever visit Mombasa, do go and pay them a visit. They have a great Cultural Centre where a local dance troupe will entertain you over lunch and you can join in if you're seriously fit. They also have an on-site shop and the beaches along the Kenyan coast are magnificent.
Hands of Hope
Hands of Hope are a not-for-profit organisation based in the West of Kenya. They were set up in 2007 to help support widows and orphans. Local artisans make the designs and we ship out the clasps and earrings hooks to them, which are made by a local U.K. Company in Crawley!
We buy the beaded necklaces, earrings and safety pin bracelets from Hands of Hope and during the current COVID crisis have been able to send a small donation of £100 towards food in this difficult time. Not only have they been hit by the virus but their region is now experiencing the second wave of locusts – the biggest plague for the last seventy years, which is devastating crops. The monsoon rains were also exceptionally heavy this year, causing flooding and around 200 deaths in this region.
As with many producer groups in the Global South, they are very entrepreneurial. We commissioned a local artist, Onsase, to paint some Kenyan scenes for our Brighton Open House Art Festival. To help pay for these, we've printed some lovely cards which are on sale on this site.
Comparte is the marketing arm of a group of individual artisans who specialise in glass jewellery. Members of WFTO, the artisans work in their own workshops, often in their garden, and make stunningly beautiful, gorgeously colourful earrings and pendants.
Silence supports around 100 deaf and differently abled artisans. Founded in 1979, they are set up as an NGO and are members of WFTO. They are very proud that they have been economically independent since 1979, though currently they are having a difficult time, as are the majority of craft producers in the Global South. Their painting is exceptional and celebrates nature and traditional aspects of Indian life. Their workshop has a wonderful, calm atmosphere and the artisans clearly enjoy their work.
Calcutta Rescue embroider cards for us and are a great NGO. They run primary health centres that offer a basic package of essential health services including medicines, simple diagnostics, and consultation free of cost. These clinics serve as the first point of contact for the poor, offer timely services, and reduce the load of referrals to secondary and tertiary health facilities in the city. India only spends 1% of its GDP on health care so it has very restricted services available to those who cannot afford private treatment.
They have four fixed clinics in different areas of Kolkata and two mobile clinics serving up to 25 slum communities.
Their aim is to reduce disease, help educate very marginalised children and upskill marginalised workers.