People of the Sun help low-income artisans in Malawi build sustainable businesses, which will raise their income and standard of living. In turn it is hoped that this will preserve their cultural heritage and ensure indigenous skills survive for the next generation.
Malawi's curios markets, like those across much of Africa, are flooded with cheap products such as wood carvings and so People of the Sun focuses on helping local artisans to use their indigenous skills to make the highest-quality furniture and home accessories. To help ensure these products stand out from the competition, international designers are also invited to infuse Malawi’s traditional crafts with contemporary style and function.
Omba works with 450 artisans across Namibia and is focused on supporting the sustainable livelihoods of marginalised communities through craft development. They develop and test production and supply systems through training in remote villages, under trees, in church halls – wherever they can find some shelter.
Omba works with several Bushmen/San communities in the Omaheke, Otjozondjupa, Ohangwena and West Zambezi regions of Namibia. 60% of the 450 or so crafters that Omba supports are Bushmen.
More generally, there are about 100,000 San living in Southern Africa and Namibia is home to almost 33,000. Unfortunately, the romantic notion of Bushman living in harmony with nature could not be further from the truth. Only one fifth of Bushmen living in Namibia today have access to their own land. The majority are landless, dependent on food aid, lack access to education, have a life expectancy far below the national average and face discrimination on a daily basis.
Dassie works with artisans living and working in deprived areas of South Africa to create eco-friendly home accessories with a feel-good factor. Artisans benefit from fair trade wages, safe workshops and business development opportunities. Dassie’s designs make creative use of reclaimed materials, such as our rustic painted photo frames, breathing new life into discarded wood.
Rose & Fitzgerald work with a range of artisans and small businesses in and around Kampala, Uganda. They focus on helping their artisan partners to preserve, but more importantly, enhance artistic traditions with a modern aesthetic, while using local, sustainable materials.