many a story has been told
under the shade
of this ancient
means 'basket' in Taita, the language of the Taita Tribe from Southern Kenya
means 'story' in Swahili
a story that goes like this:
Basket weaving is a traditional craft in a number of Kenyan tribes. The age-old basket weaving skill is passed on from grandmother to granddaughter.
The process of making these baskets starts with the sisal plant, a hardy, drought resistant succulent that grows well in these arid regions of Kenya. After harvesting, the leaves are 'skinned' until only their fibers remain. The fibers are left to dry in the sun. The dried fibers are firmly rolled into threads, which works best on a bare thigh (ouch!). A consistent amount of fibers has to be selected each time, to keep the same thickness overall. Quite some hours will pass, to obtain enough thread to weave a full basket.
Some threads are also colored beforehand. Traditionally, colors came from the local environment like earth, tree bark or by burying the threads underground between plant roots to darken. Bright colors are obtained with textile dyes. Then finally, the weaving can start and the weavers have the freedom to show off their creativity in unique patterns and decorative weaves which range from very intricate and subtle to crazy, edgy and full of character!
By purchasing one of these baskets you will support:
❥ THE LADIES of the Kasigau region in Kenya. Gathering their income from basket weaving means less dependance on often failing harvests. The benefits of basket sales are fully spent on supporting their families, making them able to pay for nutritious food, education fees for their children or improving their homes. Elderly ladies, who are often most skilled, can continue to contribute to support their families, even when physical strength is taming.
❥ The conservation of a threatened FOREST and it's WILDLIFE. When harvests fail, often the only other ways to provide income is to chop down trees and turn them into charcoal to sell or poaching valuable wildlife in the area.
❥ And of course, preserving the indigenous tribal TRADITION of weaving baskets!
To learn more about HADITHI and the nature conservation organization behind it, you can turn to:
KEEPING IT PERSONAL
With your basket you will receive a thank you note with the name of the maker, and a picture of the woman who has been weaving your basket. Maintaining the personal link between product and maker is very important to us!
hadithi 8 vidasi; the basket story...
The Village Workshops supports local artisans by providing them with trainings and new skills.
"We strive to provide alternative incomes enabling the communities to be less dependent on the land where natural resources are endangered."
The VWS founded The African Shirt Company, a social enterprise providing employment and training to tailors in local villages.
hadithi 8 the village workshops
"Most, if not all, the money that ladies receive goes straight to education, health and nutrition for the entire family."
Founded by Lore DeFranc and Lindi Campbell Clause
It is our goal to improve the lives of the people living in south-eastern Kenya in the area between Tsavo East National Park and Tsavo West National Park, by nourishing their skills and empowering them to find a creative and environmentally sustainable way to make a living.
Hadithi Crafts Support CBO is an umbrella organisation representing a number of women’s groups which make handicrafts in south-eastern Kenya.
At present time, Hadithi sells the crafts from 28 women’s groups, this way helping to financially empower around 650 women. These numbers are still growing.
Hadithi plays a supportive role for these women’s groups by helping them to build their capacity, improve the quality of their products, improve sales through joint marketing efforts, and learn business and other important skills to improve their lives overall.
All of the profits from Hadithi sales, as well as any other money received from donations to Hadithi Crafts Support CBO, are used only to offer support to these women’s groups.
The sales of our products provide an income for people living in a vulnerable ecosystem. By buying handicrafts, customers are helping to conserve a threatened forest full of wildlife, as well as helping the wonderful and kind people escape poverty in their daily lives in a dry area in south-eastern Kenya.
We believe the benefits created by sales are numerous.
They are reducing the reliance upon farming, which is itself unreliable due to scarcity of rain in this semi-arid area.
They provide an alternative to environmental destruction: an alternative to poaching vulnerable wildlife (elephant, zebra, giraffe…), or cutting down forests for charcoal, timber and farmland.
They offer a way to preserve beautiful traditions like weaving baskets and beading jewellery, by allowing them to evolve alongside modern market economic developments. More than this, it provides a learning platform for younger generations to continue some of the practices of their forebearers.
Most importantly, it gives people the ability to sustain their families. Most if not all the money that ladies receive goes straight to education, health and nutrition for the entire family. The ladies making handicrafts get the practice that leads to skills, satisfaction that leads to self-esteem and encouragement that leads to initiative. A feel of a future…
You should see the pride in these ladies eyes when they realise that they have life in their own hands, that they have their own way to create an income to the family.
We thank you for your support!
meet the wonderful weavers
the process in pictures