It is only a few that are coming
The importance of our orders - and your purchases - was highlighted when Traidcraft visited the Crafts Caravan workshop in Nairobi in May.
Crafts Caravan work with Undugu, one of our Kenyan suppliers, who produced the Kissi Platter featured in our Autumn 2009 catalogue. As Jameson Nyanchoka, who runs the workshop, explained, a drop in export orders because of the credit crunch combined with the lack of tourists visiting Kenya means they are facing difficult times.
"For local sales we depend on the tourists but we don't have tourists who buy our things. It is only a few that are coming. Since we do not have the export market we are really having challenges." Jameson said.
These people have families who depend on it
"Twelve people work here permanently but when we have a big order we usually hire some more people." He looked round the workshop. "These people have families who depend on it so it is like a disaster for us."
All this has made Traidcraft's orders even more welcome for people like Evans O Ginga (pictured above), who has 12 years experience in stone design and has been with Crafts Caravan for five years.
Demonstrating the freehand work on the Traidcraft order, he explained: "Some patterns will take a short time, others a long time. This design can take two or three hours. I have done many, many designs. These are so many I love."
With five children aged between 18 and four to support, his earnings are very important.
"It is providing school fees and to buy clothes and food. I really hope that we can be able to export more orders so I can educate all my children through school. It is really important that work keeps coming."
With the goal of defending the rights and welfare of children in special circumstances, Undugu Society of Kenya has addressed the needs of the urban poor since 1973.
Father Arnold Grol, a missionary priest from Tanzania, established Undugu in response to the overwhelming number of street children living in urban areas and the lack of government programs to help the poor. Today, Undugu, a Kiswahili word for 'solidarity and brotherhood,' is the leading rehabilitation agency for street children in Africa.
While Undugu began with basic shelter facilities, it soon grew to include education programs, health care, and counselling for boys and girls alike who would otherwise have to live on the street.
Today, Undugu touches thousands of underprivileged Kenyans through small enterprise development, informal skills training, affordable shelter, job creation, and health programs. The organization's handicraft division provides employment for over 900 families making stone carvings and baskets in places such as Kisii, Turkana, Machakos, and Nairobi, the income of which helps to break the cycle of poverty and reduce the number of people flocking to the city.
While Father Grol died in 1997, his work and vision carry on, as the Undugu Society continues to empower thousands of Kenyans.