Saturday, July 31, 2010

Gone Rural: Grass Turned Pride, Happiness and Possibilities For Swazi Women

Gone Rural was registered as a company in 1992 by the late Jenny Thorne to generate sustainable income for women in rural communities across Swaziland. What started as a small local business working with 30 women has evolved into an international company providing income for over 731 rural women and supplying their products to retail outlets across the world.

Gone Rural is fast becoming a globally recognized model of socially responsible business that promotes understanding and respect of Swazi cultural heritage and tradition. Our quest is for never ending improvement in the daily lives of our women artisans through economic empowerment and the upliftment of the thirteen communities that we work with.

The Gone Rural business model is committed to a holistically sustainable ideal which includes ongoing community development and responsible utilization of natural, renewable resources. The combination of innovative, contemporary design and exceptionally talented artisans has enabled our success. We are members of the WFTO (World Fair Trade Organisation) since 2006.

Gone Rural’s unique home accessories combine hand skills with high end design and are hand woven from sustainable, local natural fibres. We are continuously developing innovative designs and techniques to keep our product range of interiors, African vessels, gift sets and table ware fresh and dynamic. When a new product has been created, or a new technique used, training workshops are held to ensure high quality and to assist skill sharing among our women. Several women from each of our groups are invited to the workshops where samples are produced. These women then act as trainers for the rest of their respective groups. As our product range broadens we are using more mixed media, partnering other local companies for the materials required. Ceramics, recycled glass and metal products are bought in and incorporated into the Gone Rural range.

Gone Rural founded a nonprofit organisation in 2006, Gone Rural boMake, to assist the women and their communities with education, health and social needs. Gone Rural contributes with sustainable income generation for the artisans while Gone Rural boMake complements this progress with health and education programmes for the women and their communities. Gone Rural and Gone Rural boMake work closely together supporting women to become independent and live their dreams.

Philippa Thorne, Gone Rural's designer, entrepreneur and visionary

Quazi Design: Precious Paper

Quazi Design creates eco jewellery collections desirable to the design conscious, appreciating the personality of handmade products.

In every design innovative solutions are sought that respect the environment to create fashion both progressive and wearable. Quazi Design believes in encouraging smaller, high end boutique focused design and local production.

“We appreciate the personality of handmade products, creating jewellery that requires considerable hand skills, attention to detail, high quality and innovation. Our jewellery utilises waste magazines and newspaper, applying techniques of rolled paper beads and paper mache, which is then varnished to become durable. We are continuously striving to create original techniques. We promote social and environmental awareness in design, uplifting the social-economic status of Swazi communities and encouraging responsible lifestyles and new models to promote sustainability”  Doron Shaltiel, designer entrepreneur.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Imvelo Eswatini: Clay + Creativity

Rebecca Olivia Moore

The Imvelo Eswatini Story

Imvelo Eswatini is a fusion of passion and creativity, tradition and modernity, social commitment and love for Swaziland.
Imvelo Eswatini was established in 2007 by Manzini Youth Care, a Salesian, Catholic NGO working with marginalised youth in Swaziland. The Salesian order was established by Saint Don Bosco, and it was his mother, Mama Margarita, who was the inspiration behind Imvelo Eswatini. Early widowed, Mama Margarita struggled daily to bring up her own children before going on to support her son in caring for hundreds of orphaned boys. The director of Manzini Youth Care, Fr Larry Mc Donnell drew a parallel between this remarkable woman and the women of Swaziland. Imvelo Eswatini was developed in consultation with these women and is dedicated to providing a fair and sustainable source of income, enabling each women to provide for her family.

Handcrafted Accessories

Today, Imvelo Eswatini is a thriving small enterprise, working with over 25 women from informal urban settlements who carefully and lovingly craft each accessory by hand. Every woman is trained and supported by this innovative project, which combines contemporary and traditional creative skills. Imvelo Eswatini believes in fair trade and the empowerment of their employees and has recently become a member of SWIFT (Swaziland International Fair Trade Association) to show their commitment to the fair trade practices whilst also hoping to raise awareness amongst their customers.
Imvelo Eswatini strives to create products that are beautifully unique therefore no two products are ever the same. Each piece is handcrafted from beginning to end by a woman, and through her hands she allows her creations to tell her story, making each accessory uniquely soulful. The varying colours and shapes embodies and celebrates the very beauty of the handmade process, allowing each product to be as individual as our customer.

Swazi Colors, Textures and Shapes