In Kenya the craft of weaving is generally passed down through the female line. Many of these women come from families who rely predominantly on subsistence farming. Since subsistence farming is an unreliable source of income for these families the women rely on weaving as a regular form of income. In the past these craft women would have to travel long distances to Nairobi to sell their baskets but since joining a small, but growing, cooperative near their village, they are able to incorporate the basket weaving into their everyday home based chores. Through regular orders placed by ‘The Basket Room’, the weavers are able to receive ongoing employment and fair wages, as they work to Fair Trade regulations. The completed baskets are then stored in purpose built mud huts until they are ready to be collected and then shipped off to all corners of the world.
When you receive your basket you will find a ‘Thank You’ card from the weaving cooperative attached to it. A wonderful way to connect the makers to the basket’s new owners, as well as to give you a little more insight into your basket’s origin and the journey it’s been on. You can be sure that to purchase one of these special baskets is to support this small rural weaving community and their families, as well as to protect an age-old cultural tradition.
“Proceeds from weaving helped educate my children. I am now able to clothe and feed myself and my family from the income from weaving. Sometimes I find that I even have money left over, which I save or invest in my grocery business.” – Dorcas Ndinda, Chairlady of Kenyan Weaving Cooperative (via ‘The Basket Room’)