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Friday, 11 May 2018
Published in PROMOTION

On May 12 we celebrated the World Fair Trade day.

In Afrikable we bet on the Fair Trade as a key tool to get women’s economic empowerment..

During 9 years we’ve been working and creating opportunities to many african women and their families, accessing to a decent job, training professionally and growing together to start to own their own lives.

Putting their faces and hearts to what’s behind the elaborate product; Hope, justice, professionalism and above all empowerment, such as Khadija Hassan that started making recycling products and now she is the project’s manager in Lamu.

Khadija Hassan

Or Mamá Madina, (Madina mother), one of our “grandmothers".

“Madina mother does not remember how old is she, more than 60 she says. She had 10 children but two of them have already died. She tell us that nobody hires somebody of her age, and much less to a woman that also does not know how to read or write.

She is very happy with the new sandal’s Project because she sees that her work is important. She takes care of apply glue to the pieces, dyeing, and apply polishing wax and polishing the sandals.

With the salary that she earns, she can bring food home and to buy medicine to her sick husband. She also can pay the school for her children and even she can send one of them to highschool”.

Mama Madina

And the same as them, even more women, Anonymous heroines, tireless fighters that thanks to the Fair Trade, they have been improving their lives and those of their families.

From Afrikable we know that there is another way to make economy, to make a fairer and sustainable world to everyone.

As consumers we have that big power in our hands, valuing not only the economics but also the social and ecological.

We want a new global economic order with a fair Exchange, a sustainable social and ecological development, of quality of life for today and for the future, definitely, responsable and solidary consumption.

JOIN UP AND BE FAIR TRADE! #WeAreFairTrade

Afrikable - #SomosComercioJusto

tienda.afrikable.org

 

Author: Merche Cascajero | Translator: Rubén Duarte

Thursday, 08 March 2018
Published in PROMOTION

Today, millons of women around the world will raise their voices against the violation of their rights (sexual, reproductives, labor …) against male-chauvinist violence, against the invisibilization of a global society that doesnt take them into account, relegated to a second plane and still does not value them justly for who they are. And they will do it, from many different corners of the globe, joining to an international feminist strike.

The women makes the world go around. If the women stop, we all get stagnant.

The afrikable’s craftswomen want to be heard. to be respected and free. Today, they also join to the strike. They celebrate their day. From Lamu, Kenia, we join together with them to the millions of women that will go out to the Street to demand to be recognized, respected and treated as equal.

Nos queremos vivas y libre. Por los derechos de todas.

WE WANT US FREE AND ALIVE | FOR THE RIGTHS OF ALL WOMEN

Jose and Ana, the solidarity vacation’s coordinators and general support in field, they share what it means to them to live the march 8 next to them.

Ana Carrascón: “Every day in Afrikable is a gift. It’s to be able to put name, and last name and a huge smile to the fight of each and every craftswomen that are part of this big family. Women that, against all odds, show that they are able, strong, powerful and transformers. Women that drive changes to better, to them and their families, and that through their work in the just commerce circuit can guarantee an education to their children, to be self-sufficient economically and cease to be invisibles for a society that relegates them to the darkest corner.

We admire them because all of them, to get here today, they have had to face situations of inequality and injustice, discrimination, violence, lack of ascence to the education and to health. They are a real example of courage and empowerment. To be able to share with them the women international day celebration and their claims this year, it makes the greatest sense.”

Jose Mateos: "In Spain, the article 40 of the II Republic prayed : “ All the Spaniards, without distinction of sex are admisibles to the Jobs and public office …” Since then, and thanks to the tireless fight of the women like Clara Campoamor, we have not stopped advancing in the fight towards the equality and the freedom. A fight that still has a long way to go, but a fight that is condemned to success.

A fight required independently of the country, color or ethnic group. A fight in which we the men have the responsability, capacity, need and obligation to collaborate, ending in this way with the injustice situation that they live for the simple fact of being women. Fight that we musn’t stop until we get the total balance.

In Afrikable we believe in the female empowerment and that`s why we work everyday. It does not exist a man enough rich, able to pay what our women’s smile transmit. Note even, between the richest, could pay the spark that shudder your body when you see the evolution of women that have suffered in his own flesh the scour of inequality through the marginalization, the gender violence and the male- chauvinist submission.

This is why we demand the implication of the goverments in this fight that Benefit everybody. Implication through effective action that fights against this male-chauvinist system, where it continues to be tolerated situations like male violence, marginalization, and inequality in the laboral rights, staying the dome of the big corporations and governments in men’s hands.”

We will convert this day in a party!

 

 

Authors: Jose and Ana | Translator: Rubén Duarte

Sunday, 07 January 2018
Published in PROMOTION

Working in the children’s rights week, the Pícaros School’s team thought: “what better way to teach our little kids about the children’s rights than to show them the reality of other children anywhere in the world? Why our little children were not going to contribute in the sense that we are all equal? At that time we came up with the idea of collaborate with Afrikable through our school.

Cuento 'UN GRAN CAMBIO'To show our little ones the world’s reality, we began with a project presentation video where they could watch the world’s children. We keep going with a storyteller about Maka’s story through “A BIG CHANGE” story tale.

Been so excited with Maka’s story ! Three, two, one …. Let us get the ball rolling! Shoes out, socks out and to paint their foots to create elephants, giraffes, lions, tigers … they were excited with Africa so we made a wall with everyone helps.

Afrikable Pícaros School Mural

But still we could do more things that Maka taught us, so we decided to create necklaces as the Massai’s women do it, full with litlle balls and a lot of colours! Ahh, I forgot, and we made them in the floor, as we know that they do it.

Afrikable Pícaros School Collares Massai

Afrikable Pícaros School Collares Massai 1

And finally, we will tell you that we also learned a little Swahili, now every morning the children enter the school saying JAMBO and they smile and dance when it sounds the song “Jambo Bwana”.

Afrikable Pícaros School Jambo Bwana

This is just the beginning, we will colaborate with Afrikable during all the scholar course, because we believe that...

EVERYTHING THAT YOU GIVE TO THE CHILDREN, THE CHILDREN WILL GIVE IT TO THE SOCIETY

Afrikable Pícaros School Cooperando por Mundo Mejor

THANK YOU LOLA

THANK YOU TEAM

 

Author: Mabel Deza | Translator: Rubén Duarte

Monday, 06 November 2017
Published in PROJECTS

"It’s been over 50 days since I returned from what was the best experience of my life. I find it very difficult to explain to my friends, colleagues, family, how the experience went when they ask me ‘How was Africa?’ It would take me a long time to answer the question.

In order to explain my experience, I have to go back to May 30, 2012 when I went to pick up my partner at Madrid’s airport. Maitane came back from her trip to Afrikable after being on an island called Lamu for a month. I will always remember her first words when she saw me right after passing the automatic doors: ‘I have to go back.’

During the next five years, every time we had to plan our vacations, Maitane always said: ‘Another year that I’m not going back to Afrikable, Visu we definitely have to go together next year’.

After five years of ‘holding on’, I finally decided to make the trip with her to that island in Kenya about which I had heard hundreds of stories, flavors, smells...

The unforgettable experience starts from the moment you hop on the boat that will take you to the island of Lamu. There it was. After such a long time, there was only a five-minute journey between us.

David y Maitane camino a Lamu

When you set foot on Lamu, you notice the special charm it gives off. To get to Afrikable, your bags are carried by the unforgettable donkey, Pantoja.

In the first walk from the harbour to the Shamba, you quickly realise that the island of Lamu will leave a mark on you. During the scarcely 25-minute walk, I remember greeting more than 100 people. Everyone with a smile on their face. When we got to the Shamba, we were ‘attacked’ by a crowd of children whose only desire was to hug you, kiss you and touch you... Consequence: first moment I had goose bumps.

From the first time I passed Afrikable’s door, I felt like Maitane had lied to me on her stories about the little and homely NGO. What I had in front of me and was able to enjoy is a great project that grows step by step, bit by bit. That’s what we went there for, to do our bit.

In my case, I had to help Madame Joice within the school department. In my professional life, I teach adults and I had not dealt with so many ‘little monsters’ at the same time before. After ten minutes, I had them controlled with a couple of ‘Sasa hapana, sasa school, na after we kucheza’. The mixture of languages all volunteers speak from the first day, and after three days you don’t even know what language are you speaking when your colleagues look at you strangely.

David en la escuelita

The project grows every day, every hour, thanks to the daily effort of the women there. They are an example of self-improvement, bravery, courage. Each one of them has a story that makes you shiver just from hearing it.

Just like everyone else, we leave our comfortable life behind to go contribute. I think I did my bit, but I must admit that I’m taking with me a whole bag of bits. A bag that will be with me for the rest of my life and I will forever carry in my heart.

After five years, I understand Maitane’s words perfectly. Now I am the one who wants to go back.

David en la escuelita

Asante Sana.

Nakupenda Lamu.

Nakupenda Afrikable.

 

Author: David Martínez | Translator: Sonia Moscardó

Sunday, 29 October 2017
Published in PROJECTS

"I can finally say that I officially belong to the group of people affected by ‘Africa’s ills’. Far from being an illness, it is an emotional state that those of us who have visited the continent and feel the need to come back suffer. To feel again, to smell, to breathe, to contemplate its people, its colours, its music, its energy, its horizon, its sky and a whole range of sensations that get you caught up in a feeling of vitality and strength that you don’t want to stop experiencing.

Testimonio_Maitane_BEFORE_and_AFTER

All thanks to you, Afrikable. A small project I discovered 5 years ago while surfing the net in search of myself. Although, 5 years later I can no longer say that you are a small project. I met you as a humble family with many challenges to overcome and I’ve had the privilege of seeing what you have become through the years.

The modest house you had at the time was called ‘Alipenda’, the first one to give shelter to such an ambitious project. All activities were carried out there: the women’s workshop, the children’s school, the babies’ area, the kitchen, the volunteers’ area and the founders and the coordinator’s office. The idea of having a piece of land (a Shamba) to develop Afrikable’s hopes and dreams was a bold vision of the future. And yet here you are, more determined than ever after facing several obstacles, difficulties and frustrations that didn’t stand a chance against the many moments of joy, overcoming and achievements.

It has been overwhelming to come back to the same place and see everything you have achieved and how much you’ve grown from the front row. A piece of land that houses several buildings: the sewing workshop with new machinery, the footwear workshop, a storage room, a big office for the project’s management, two nursery schools, the babies’ area, a dining hall that caters to more than 100 children, the Maternity Home (probably the biggest proof that everything is possible), an orchard that symbolizes how even in the most inhospitable places everything can grow with a lot of effort and love, and a cosy space for volunteers. Now more than ever, I have felt what Afrikable means: Africa is possible..

Maitane con Rukija

About this second experience I would highlight the self-improvement, strength and empowerment lessons learned from each one of the women that are part of the project. Their stories are a burden they have to carry every day; their strength and lust for life never cease to amaze me. One of the tasks I had to carry out every morning was to go down to the Afrikable store in the village (Lamu), Mariam Ramadhan was there, and starting my day thinking about her smile when she saw me walk through the door made the heat and the 30-minute walk on the sand to get there be ‘Hakuna Matata’ (no worries).

Maitane con Mariam Ramadhan

I close a chapter of my life in the knowledge that I will cross paths with Afrikable’s women and children again, after all, everything happens in threes. I will come back to see firsthand how each seed you have planted has grown, to see how women have continued to acquire their empowerment and how the children have grown up with the tools you provided them with.

Asante Sana (thank you very much) to the brave and courageous women, to the lively and strong children, to each member of the great Afrikable family for opening your home to us, for opening our eyes and showing us the essentials of life, and, in short, for opening up your hearts to us. Once again, I have tried but I couldn’t give more than I have received.

Maitane en el poblado Orma

 

Author: Maitane | Translator: Sonia Moscardó

Saturday, 07 October 2017
Published in PROJECTS

And we won!!!

We thought we had won a volunteer holiday during which we were going to Lamu to help people in need through our “western and developed” contribution, but just stepping on the island made us realise that we would mutually help each other.

Let’s start from the beginning...

After getting confirmation that there were no available places for September, we quickly started dealing with the idea that it wouldn’t be possible this year, despite being available for the holidays and having saved the money for the experience that we had wanted to live for the last two years, being holidaymakers at Afrikable! It was such a shame... other colleagues booked it first and the order of arrival must always be respected. Afrikable decided to draw a raffle based on buying tickets to help finance the “Maternity Home”, an ambitious project that will enable women to monitor, control and give birth in adequate conditions unusual in the area. I decided to help by buying and spreading tickets among people close to me. The raffle took place on March 30, my work shift that day was from 2 pm to 10 pm so the first thing I would do after work would be to check the raffle tickets. I didn’t get the chance to... Lola had already written me to congratulate me on... my birthday! That’s right, my birthday is March 30! I thanked her and she called me...

Lola: Alejandro, happy birthday!

Me: Thanks, Lola! I was just leaving work... I haven’t even walked out the door yet.

Lola: I’m calling to congratulate you on your birthday… and on the raffle!!! You won!!!

Me:

Yes, I was speechless... uncontrollable nerves ran through my body in a matter of milliseconds, unable to do anything but enjoy it. It was a unique day that I will never forget. I quickly called my brother and we started thinking about the wonderful experience we were going to live. We had won a volunteer holiday!

Months later we arrived to Lamu, from where I’m writing you. From the air you feel like the island has that something... and when you land you can confirm that it’s nothing like what you have experienced before. You go from the airport to the island in a wooden launch with people who don’t stop smiling. The coordinators wait for you on the other side, with such joy and enthusiasm that confirms it’s going to be an unforgettable experience. The village is buzzing with life and joy, they insist that you feel welcome, and you will hear the words Jambo, karibu (“Hello, welcome”) constantly throughout your stay, always accompanied by a dazzling smile created by the contrast of their skin colour.

We arrived at the facilities where Afrikable develops its project. Joy and harmony are in the air. There’s a great sewing team of lively women with a look of satisfaction when people visit their work area. A footwear workshop where they make the sandals that will be sold under fair trade standards in different places, whose dedication and hard work make the western public appreciate their quality. A nursery school, fundamental element of the project. Children’s school, backbone of society where Afrikable tries to perform a thorough and meticulous work. Proper nutrition, personal hygiene care, health, learning how to read and write, learning English, believing in a better world, fighting to improve and not settling for what has already been established and, above all, making them feel loved and very appreciated. And the new jewel in the crown, the Maternity Home, is now a reality! Construction is very advanced, the building can be seen, it has shape and, two days ago, they finished putting the roof on. My tickets and those of the collaborators are plastered on every stone. There’s still work to be done and funding to be acquired, but everything runs smoothly!.

We were soon assigned the tasks or areas in which all of us who had come during the same period would collaborate. After several days, we all had the same feeling... we didn’t feel that useful... “I just go grocery shopping to the market”, “I’m just holding babies all morning”, “I just cut and stick sandal soles…” We all had the feeling that we were coming to “change the world!!”, we felt energized enough to “improve all of Lamu in 3 weeks!!”. After sitting down to ponder for a few minutes, I realised that our desire to be useful and ambitious didn’t allow us to notice that thanks to us everything else was moving further, that mothers could work because we looked after their babies, that children learned English thanks to the games teacher holidaymakers prepared, that the children could eat thanks to the person who went grocery shopping to the market every day, that people could work in facilities in optimal conditions because maintenance workers did their job well. And I started to smile! I felt very useful and... “I was changing the world!!”, exactly what I came to do! It was wonderful!.

Alejando en el mercado y con los bebés

Days have gone by so fast. We spend the mornings helping out and the afternoons exploring the island and its surroundings, enjoying the charming beaches, unforgettable fresh juices, boat rides and a beer in a floating bar that captures every visitor’s attention. On weekends we go on longer trips, such as safaris or stays in unspoiled islands that require a full day.

Alejando de safari en el Parque Nacional de Tsavo

I’ve loved Africa and I feel like with Afrikable I have understood it better. I have been able to go deep into the reality of Lamu’s society. Now I understand those times I have been told that Africa leaves no one indifferent. Today, I’m incapable of giving a verdict nor a more or less profound opinion on Africa and I don’t expect to be able to give one for months, when I’ve had the chance to take in and assimilate everything better. Afrikable and the raffle have allowed me to live a unique experience, to discover a different world, to value aspects that I had already forgotten and, above all, to do my bit for a better Lamu. I take with me friends, memories, experiences, images, both those captured by the camera and those that will never be erased from my mind, nature and bits of Africa.

Goodbye from two holidaymakers who will always carry in their hearts Afrikable, their women’s entrepreneurship and the hopes pinned on Africa’s future generations.

Alejandro and Pablo Martín

Despedida de Alejando y Pablo Martín

 

Author: Alejandro Martín | Translator: Sonia Moscardó

Sunday, 17 September 2017
Published in PROJECTS

7 years ago, during our first trip to Lamu, Kenya, we met Lola Serra and Merche Cascajero.

We were following the project they had recently launched: AFRIKABLE.

It gathered a group of 10 women of different ethnicities and religions, with their children, who had important needs for subsistence. With Lola and Merche at the front, running on no more than their enthusiasm and total dedication.

At Free Design Bank, we feel hooked to this group of brave women from the beginning.

We wanted to provide our help and collaboration, from designing, by seeking methods and resources both in the design of products with improved commercialisation, always fair trade, and in the training and funding.

Amparo Balbastre 01

After these 7 years, the group has grown; more than 40 women and 100 children now live off the project. New facilities that have improved their life and work quality have been built.

Afrikable is more than an NGO. It’s a life project, which we fully share at Free Design Bank.

Today, you can feel the strength every single woman of the project transmits in every thank-you hug, in every word in Swahili, that don’t need translation because they strike deep in your heart.

During this last trip, we were very touched; we felt part of this beautiful project, in which, on a human level, we always receive more than we give.

Thanks Lola, thanks Merche.

 

Author: Amparo Balbastre , FREE DESIGN BANK Coordinator | Translator: Sonia Moscardó

Sunday, 17 September 2017
Published in PROJECTS

Once we saw the opportunity to set up this project together with Afrikable we did not hesitate. Almost in unison Amparo Balbastre, Carmen Gujarro and I thought that this was another one of those challenges Free Design Bank had to face. We talked to Merche Cascajero and Lola Serra and we all saw it clear, we would end the circle of needs; we would build the crafts workshop building that Afrikable had always needed, we would get new sewing machines and create a new collection of more attractive products, commercial products adjusted to the new technical possibilities of craftswomen.

The Free Design Bank team set off and many volunteer designers responded to our call, they were organised in three groups; one group would be in charge of design proposals that reused the plastic of all the water jugs consumed in Lamu, another group would propose exclusive sandal designs for the Maasai women group, the last group would work on proposals with Kanga and Kikoy fabrics. I assumed the leadership of the groups and projects, while Carmen was responsible for the management of the project and for refining the designs proposed by the volunteers; Amparo took care of the groups’ coordination and of creating or improving the prototypes’ patterns.

Manolo Bañó 01

Four months later, after many hours of work from both volunteer designers and the Free Design Bank leaders, the collection was ready to be produced by Afrikable’s groups of women… But, in which building? Truthfully, Merche and Lola moved quickly, on our arrival to Lamu we were surprised to see that the new sewing machines were set up and running, and above all that…The new workshop building was almost finished!!.

At Afrikable’s headquarters in Lamu we have spent three unforgettable weeks setting up the project, selecting the designs and assembling the machines, while Amparo trained the women on the use of the new industrial electric sewing machines. Those three weeks of close relations with the women of the project and their concerns have filled us with excitement, knowledge and strength to keep collaborating with Afrikable from the social design fundamentals that Free Design Bank represents for many years to come.

 

Author: Manolo Bañó, Manager of the FREE DESIGN BANK Social Design Project | Translator: Sonia Moscardó

Sunday, 17 September 2017
Published in PROJECTS

I’ve been collaborating with them since I found out about the NGO when I was at university thanks to a Free Design Bank collaborative project between designers and different organizations from developing countries. Later I had the chance to spend some time in Lamu as a designer, living day to day and developing products hand-in-hand with them. The experience was a blast, it has been with me ever since and keeps me tied to them.

They, every single woman who works for Afrikable and makes it possible, are a lesson of strength, and their example has forced me to always put myself in their place and set the record straight.

Afrikable has been showing us that obstacles are surmountable and there is no adversity impossible to overcome. It is a family that continues to grow and as a growing entity it needs resources that will develop with it. To present this project on their behalf is to give them a little push to help them achieve their goals. The fact that my company gave me the opportunity to improve their working conditions means finding a common ground between my context and theirs.

Carmen Guijarro 01

What motivates me the most is knowing that they get to keep all of this, the workshop, the tools, the training courses. The soul of all of this is to provide them with the mechanisms to continue to work.

I hope this is just the beginning, that they are continuously trained in these spaces, that more women join them so that it requires building one, three or five more floors. I hope that they keep growing, proud and brave, showing their integrity and energy.

They defeated the hard reality, but luckily for all, the future is theirs.

 

Author: Carmen Guijarro | Translator: Sonia Moscardó

Sunday, 17 September 2017
Published in PROJECTS

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

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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.

WHERE ARE WE

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