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I still remember that day at the library when Carmen Guijarro called us to tell us the news... It has been granted!!!... We did it!!!... Finally the women’s workshop would be a reality!!!

My cries of joy still echo in the library’s walls (and they’re probably still ringing in Carmen’s ears) but it could not be otherwise, something Merche and I had been fighting for from the beginning, for more than 7 years, had become a reality.

We would be able to offer the women of the project a decent work place, professional machines to improve the production, proper storage space, a library of materials to store patterns and prototypes, design training workshops, increased production and many other essentials to be able to improve the working conditions of the project’s female workers, and the production, thus being able to reach more people through Fair Trade, then again having an impact on the improvement of the quality of life of many Kenyan women.

Factory 01

Carmen Works in a multinational fashion company as a designer and is a volunteer at Free Design Bank, a non-profit platform of the CEU University of Valencia made up of design students and designers, which collaborates with Afrikable since our inception. Carmen came to Afrikable for the first time in 2013 as a volunteer to help improve textile production.

She saw with her own eyes the problems workers faced daily: lack of space, lack of a proper storage place, a rented house where water would come in every time it rained and everything would get wet (the women, the products, the material, the children...). When it didn’t rain but it was windy, everything went flying out the window (the fabrics, the patterns, the threads…); in short, it wasn’t the right space. It wasn’t our first house, before that we had rented another house where the school, the dining hall, the kitchen and the workshops were on the same floor and interconnected. It was a very dark house, full of mosquitoes, and very small, which for the first months served to launch the project, but it wasn’t ready to take on the growth we have experienced during these years.

In 2014, with great effort, we were able to buy a land on instalments where we could grow by building appropriate spaces for all. There our dreams came true step by step: the children’s school and dining hall, the Volunteer Holidays programme’ facilities, and even the Maternity, but the biggest dream resisted. In the new facilities women worked wherever they could: inside the bedrooms when the Volunteer Holidays programme was closed, in the classrooms during school holidays, moving yet again when the Maternity building got the ceiling done... and under the trees when all the buildings were busy.

Many companies provide subsidies to the projects their employees submit through their Corporate Social Responsibility departments, which sometimes are voted and/or selected by their workers. And that was Carmen’s case when she presented the “COOPERATION THROUGH DESIGN FOR THE CONSOLIDATION, CAPACITATION, AND TECHNICAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF THE CRAFTSWOMEN GROUPS OF AFRIKABLE NGOD IN THE LAMU DISTRICT (KENYA)” project to her company.

 

 

The project also counts on the collaboration of Free Design Bank, in the hands of Manuel Bañó and Amparo Balbastre, who collaborate with Afrikable’s craftswomen by supporting them in their training in design and the creation of new products that will be manufactured in the new workshop. Free Design Bank provides the professionals, training materials, and designs necessary for the achievement of a professional commercial collection.

We want to thanks to Carmen, Manolo and Amparo for trusting Afrikable and for making this dream come true. Click on each of their names in order to learn about their emotional testimonies as the major force behind the project.

Asante Sana!

Factory 02

 

Author: Lola Serra | Translator: Sonia Moscardó

Read 634 times Last modified on Saturday, 11 November 2017 18:50
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ABOUT AFRIKABLE

Afrikable is a Spanish charitable organisation, registered in the National Register of Associations under number 1/1/594088 and in the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation for Development (AECID)'s Register of Non-Governmental Organisations under number 2033.

 

In Kenya our association is called Afrika Able Organization and is registered with Kenya's NGO Coordination Board under number 10976.

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  • Lamu, Kenia.
    Madrid, Spain
  • +34 605 722 162