Tuesday, October 25, 2011


An important mission for Bundu Designs, other than exposing the amazing design initiatives that African community projects and African artisans produce, is introducing our readers and our clients to ethical kids products. With Christmas fast approaching we thought it would be a good time to highlight a few unique, handmade gifts for kids. We have come across an amazing array of products that are all fairly traded, eco-friendly and sustainably produced. Santa may still outsource the majority of his shopping list to factories in China, but that doesn't mean you have to. Ethical gift-buying is set to be a major force this Christmas. A survey recently published by Friends Provident will show that as many as 25 per cent of shoppers now consider ethical issues when buying gifts for children. A further 59 per cent would prefer to shop at an ethical retailer if given a choice, with 13 per cent believing that ethical gifts give more meaning to Christmas. Not awesome numbers, but it's a start.
 We have already written about a few organisations like Forward Bears, Shwe Swwe Poppis and Flock, but we have found a few more that we love and would like to share.

We were introduced to these sweet little guys by our friends at Dsenyo. Hand-stiched by Mwayiwathu, a support group for HIV-positive women in Malawi, using African wax prints combined with a soft jersey knit. Mwayiwathu was formed out of the HIV-positive Living Group with Village to Village, a local community based organization.  Mawyiwathu means "blessings" in the local language Chiyao.  The 15 members of this group are primarily AIDS widows who are living with the virus themselves.  They chose this name for their group because they really see the work they do as a blessing and a solution to some of the challenges they face.  The range is made in an elephant, monkey, lion and bunny and is available at http://stores.bundudesigns.com/-strse-166/Stuffies/Detail.bok
Shumba is a small company based in Harare, Zimbabwe. Shumba began life as the creative output of a lion hearted young girl battling cancer. During her long treatment and recovery period, she began the process of healing by playing with needle, felt and beads. Touched by the love and support of her own community, she stitched and beaded hope and positivity into her designs. What began as a pastime to help raise funds for medical expenses grew into a self funded philanthropic business. In an environment of hyper inflation, economic and political instability and overwhelming needs, Shumba ignited a spark of hope and pride in a deflated Zimbabwean community.

The Shamwari project was set up in Mutare in the Eastern Highlands of Zimabwe to give local women the opportunity to use their craft skills to build a future for themselves and their families. Knitting was chosen as it only requires basic materials, it can be done anywhere and at any time and is a skill that is practical for the women to learn. What began as a small group of 6 ladies now consist of over 25 women. Knitting the animals has given these women something positive to focus on and allows them to meet practical needs that they or their families have. Each animal is lovingly and completely handmade and has as much individuality and character as the lady who knitted it! Available at http://stores.bundudesigns.com/-strse-Kids/Categories.bok

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