Meet Our Producers
Dsenyo partners with women and artisans in Africa and Brazil. By creating long-term relationships we are helping our producers build their businesses, improve their skills and work their way out of poverty.
Through their work with Dsenyo, producers benefit from a vital boost to their business. We provide them with the training, support and all materials needed to fulfill our orders. With the fair labor wage they earn, most producers reinvest in growing their local business, paying school fees for their children, and buying clothing, fertilizer and household goods that they couldn't otherwise afford.
We also work hard not to create a relationship of dependency. Dsenyo offers free training in several areas (sewing, business, fair trade, product design, quality control, etc) contributing to producers overall business development. We encourage them to pursue local markets and other fair trade customers. By empowering groups to grow their business and not rely on Dsenyo for 100% of their income, we are helping them create a more stable future for themselves.
Vipambi Women's Group (Malawi)
Vipambi Women’s Group is a women’s sewing cooperative a workshop with a mission to train women in business and sewing skills, enabling them to be more successful. Vipambi is located in Mzuzu, where Dsenyo’s Malawian office is located. There is a stitching center and all quality assurance, packing, and exporting takes place here. The majority of women working at Vipambi have started their own tailoring businesses, and many have used earnings to send their children to university. As one woman told us in October, 2013: “In only 3 months I’ve done a lot. I used the money as capital for my business. It was down but now it’s up. I also used some money to send my son to Dowa College; he’s at a teacher-training program for 3 years.”
They make textile products, including aprons, pajama pants, skirts, purses and bags, napkins, table runners, tissue pouches, fabric bangles, and belts which you can see here.
Mwayiwathu Women's Group (Malawi)
Mwayiwathu HIV Support Group (Malawi) is comprised of 17 members, primarily women afflicted by AIDS, either personally or within their family. Just over one third of the women are widows who have lost their husband to the virus. Widowhood often leaves Malawian women economically disempowered and socially excluded; Mwayiwathu creates opportunity and works for change. The women in this group use their wages to send their kids to school, pay for transport to the hospital to get ARVs, make improvements to their homes, and invest in side business ventures. One woman mentioned she has been able to use the sewing skills learned at Mwayiwathu to stitch school uniforms for her children and others in the community, which makes her very proud!
They made the Little Friends, Flower Hair Clips, and the flower ornaments which you can see here.
Umoja Crafts (Malawi)
Umoja Crafts (Malawi) means “union of women” in Swahili and is a social enterprise by women at the Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Malawi. The group is mainly composed of over 50 Rwandan and Burundian refugees who are working to support their families amidst the challenging living conditions of the refugee camp. These entrepreneurial women appreciate the income and camaraderie fostered by Umoja, and are eager to learn new designs and business skills. They have adapted and continued traditional basket weaving techniques from their homelands to make a range of products. Sustainable materials are used for woven craftwork, including up-cycled food ration bags and sustainable sisal fiber.
They make the coil earrings, trays, coasters, and baskets which you can see here.
Umoja Cards (Malawi)
Umoja Cards is a new income-generating project for people with disabilities at the Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Malawi. This is a group of 7 Congolese, Rwandan, and Burundian refugees. As one woman told us in October, 2013: “All the family is proud of my work with this group. Before I felt a lot of shame because my children would ask for things like soap and I couldn't provide it… I hope the project progresses and my family would be living in good condition.” This group makes greeting cards from recycled paper and bright, colorful African fabrics, some of which are repurposed scrap fabric from Dsenyo’s textile products.
They make Greeting Cards which you can see here.
Segue o Seco (Brazil)
Segue o Seco (Brazil) is a cooperative of artisans in northeastern Brazil, and we are excited to be the first company to bring their crafts to the international market. Segue o Seco seeks to utilize local artisan talents and skills to turn social and environmental challenges into economic opportunities for women. Sustainability is central to their mission, and they use materials and processes that have minimal environmental impact – purses, clutches and flowers are made with sustainably-harvested Buriti palm fiber that are hand-dyed and then woven or crocheted.
They made the Brazil Flower Clips, Basica Clutch, Selena Clutch, Yara Bag and the Macrame Star Tote which you can see here.
Mulberry Mongoose (Zambia)
Mulberry Mongoose (Zambia) a budding artisan initiative in South Luangwa, in rural Zambia neighboring our Malawian partners. These artisans craft jewelry inspired by the African bush – its rich and diverse flora and fauna. They use locally and ethically sourced materials, such as guinea fowl feather, tagua, semi-precious stones, wooden debris, and collected snare wires. The enterprise employs three women to craft jewelry and works with a local carpenter to craft wooden beads. Mulberry Mongoose is committed to giving back to the community and supporting conservation – for every piece of snare wire jewelry sold, they donate $5 to anti-poaching efforts.
They make Malaika, Trina, Kitana, Daliso, and Zimba jewelry collections which you can see here.