Meet our skilled artisans who make the beautiful bags and baskets. Most of the artisans live in rural areas, where their main livelihood is from small-scale farming. To supplement their income, they weave baskets all year round although the best time of year is during the dry season. The traditional weaving techniques are passed down from generation to generation. The women generally weave at home although every two weeks they gather with their self-help group to work together under the shade of large mango trees. During these meetings they socialize, discuss current issues and exchange news while they weave the traditional baskets.
Agnes has lots of cattle, and has a special skill for farming. People in her village know she is hardworking and they admire the love she has for her farm. To relax she tends to her homestead and spends time with her husband. Her hobbies include studying the bible, and her favourite meal is white rice and spinach. Her husband encourages her to weave. Her husband Jackson Mutuku is a house builder.
Alice K. M.
Alice is a very warm personality. She loves chapatti and rice and her favorite color is orange. Alice is a goat farmer and she has been knitting baskets for Mifuko in Echa Kuoko women’s group since 2014. Alice starts her day by cleaning her homestead and taking the goats out to find food, later in the day she weaves baskets. Alice loves working with Mifuko and plans to open a saving account in the future. The most important thing for her in life is her family.
Anna is chicken and cow farmer. She sells the yield to her villagers, Easter and Christmas being most important selling seasons. Anna is also a self-taught weaver. Currently she is building her house and she is planning to build better shelter for her chicken. Anna loves her job and her family.
Weaving has always been Beatrice full-time-job. Before she joined the Kingongi women’s group in 2010 she sold baskets in the marketplace. Her plan is to open a kiosk for basic home care products and buy a cow. Beatrice weaves mostly in afternoons after she is done with her chores. Her favourite meal is rice and stew.
In Teresia's home church she is known for her cheerfulness and singing and dancing skills. She does small scale vegetable farming and keeps chickens. Fourteen years ago, Teresia bought weaving materials and learned how to weave. Later she joined in Faith women’s group. Income from weaving has helped her cover her household expenses. In the future, she wants to build a larger house with her savings. Teresia’s favorite meal is chapatti and fried cabbage.
Carol has a small poultry farm where she grows chicken and eggs for sales. She plans on expanding the farm and building a small house to chicken. She uses her earns to cater for her family needs like school fees and food. Carol was taught how to weave by her mother-in-law, and she has been weaving since 2017. The most important things in Carols life are her job, farm business and her family. Her favorite meal is chapatti and rice.
Catherine has a talent and passion for farming, and has found ways to make her crops grow despite the harsh weather conditions in her village. She looks up to a woman named Mary Martin, who is a business lady in her local area. She enjoys singing in her free time to relax, and tends to her farm of French beans, kale and spinach. Her favorite color is blue and all its different shades. Catherine is very responsible, and her friends and family love her for her kindness. At first she didn’t know how to weave, but she has been taught the skill by other women. Now she works happily for Mifuko.
Christine M. M.
Christine is a vegetable farmer. In 2014, her friends taught her how to weave and now Christine enjoys weaving in the Faith women’s Group with her friends. The salary from Mifuko is her main source of income. The most important things for her in life is her family and seeing her children reach their goals. Christine plans to buy a water tank in the future to be able to collect water for dry seasons. She loves all traditional kamba foods like mixture of maize and beans and her favorite colors are yellow and blue.
Dorcas is a widow and a mother of five children in the small village. During her freetime, in order to relax after a long day, she likes reading the Bible and singing. She is a very talented tailor. Her favorite color is sky blue; seeing it brings her joy, because it is so bright. Dorcas says her best quality is being a mediator for people with quarrels or chaos in the village. She is known and admired for her patience and forgiveness, and knows how to live in peace with her neighbors. She loves weaving, and says she uses weaving to ease her stress.
Dorothy has been weaving Mifuko baskets for over three years. She is happy with the progress in her life since she started working for Mifuko. From her earnings, Dorothy has started a chicken farm and plans on expanding it. She is now able to buy food for the chicken, cater to her children’s school fees and her household needs. She is planning to buy a cow in the coming months. She is looking forward to getting more orders from Mifuko, and says she enjoys working with her fellow 30 group members.
Esther is a widow who has been weaving baskets for Mifuko for over a year and a half in her artisan group. She worried about making her living after her husband passed away but with Mifuko's help she is managing well. She weaves the baskets at around noon or later at night, after finishing her homestead chores. With the money earned from her crafts she buys food, clothing and other household essentials. She is also able to pay for her child’s university education. Esther plans to open up a kiosk in the future as a part time business.
Eunice is a mother of five and a a small grocery store owner. Part of the earnings she makes from Mifuko she gives as tithes to the church and rest she is saves to be able to buy land in the near future. Her dream is to open a bigger grocery store some day. She looks up to a lady called Agnes who is a well known local business woman. Eunice's favorite color is yellow and purple, as you can tell from her dress. Her favorite meal is Githeri, a local Kamba dish.
Faith is acknowledged by her family and friends for being a very hardworking and skilled farmer in her village. She grows maize and beans in her farm. She is talented singer and she plans to join her local church choir. Faith’s favorite colors are white and blue, while her favorite meal is chapatti and beef stew. Her role model is a local lady from her village who is known to be a talented farmer. The extra income she earns from Mifuko helps her pay the school fees for her children.
Felister is many things in addition to being a talented basket weaver: a tailor, a singer and a mother. She is also admired for her kindness, big heart and hard-working spirit. During her free time she enjoys making clothes for her children. She looks up to a tailor in her village named Rhoda Mathuku who is known for her tailoring skills. Being a talented singer Felister sings in her local church choir. She wants to start a hardware business soon with the income she has been earning from Mifuko.
Florence is not only talented in weaving baskets: her main profession is tailoring dresses and other clothes. She is also passioned about her vegetable garden which she hopes will be one day as healthy and well nourished as her friend Josephine Mwanzia’s. The next investment in expanding her garden into a farm is buying a cow and a goat next year for which she is saving up most of her income. Florence’s favorite colors are sky blue and white.
Hellena M. M.
Hellena is known for weaving sweaters and especially school sweaters in her small tailoring shop. In 2014 she became interested in weaving baskets and asked her mother in-law to teach her this skill. Now Hellena is in Faith Women’s Group and she weaves in the mornings after she has prepared her children for school and later in the evenings before she goes to sleep. Income from Mifuko has helped her with school fees and other household needs. The most important thing in Hellena’s life is her family. She wants to open a saving account. Her favorite meal is chapatti and stew while her favorite colors are yellow and blue.
Irene sells chicken and eggs and starts her day early in the morning. She prepares her three children to the school, cleans her home, tends for her chicken and starts weaving in the afternoon. Irene loves working for Mifuko because it has helped raise her standard of living, not just financially but also socially. She has been weaving baskets since 2010. Irene uses her incomes to pay for school fees and buy household essentials. She plans to buy goats in the future. Her favorite meal is rice and stew.
Jacinta collects scrap metal around her village selling it to the small companies that re-use metal for manufacturing purposes. Jacnita is an environmentalist. She is also a skilled basket weaver who learned the skill in the school when she was a little girl. From her earnings she pays school fees and buys food and clothes to her family. Jacnita loves green color and most important thing in life to her is her family and job.
If you ask for the best vegetables in Manyala village you will be directed to Janet. Janet has been a skilled farmer for most of her life. This 36-year-old mother of two boys came to think to harvest water into a small pond which now enables her to water her farm even during dry seasons. Janet wants to give her boys a good education which has been her motivation to learn to weave baskets. Janet loves color blue and her favorite meal is ugali and vegetables like sukuma.
Josephine is known in Manyala village as owner of one of the best shops in village and a businesswoman. She is also recognized for her joyful personality. Working as a full-time shopkeeper keeps her busy but still she wants to weave baskets in the evenings. Josephine wants to open a new shop with her savings. Her favorite color is maroon, and her favorite meal is ugali and githeri. Family is the most important to Josephine in life. She wants to be an example to her children and watch them reach their goals.
Jacinta is known in her community as a woman who loves preaching from the bible. She is a talented singer and enjoys singing in her local church choir. Her favorite colors are black and white. Jacinta’s role model in life is a Tanzanian music artist called Rose Muhando, who has produced a lot of gospel songs in East Africa. Her favourite meal is a local Kenyan dish known as Muthokoi, which is made of maize and beans. Weaving baskets for Mifuko has taught her work commitment.
Josephine owns a few shops and a farm in her village. Josephine gets up 5am every day to prepare breakfast for her family and to help her children get ready for school. Josephine has been in the Umanyi wa Muketani women’s group for three years. She plans to open another shop in the near future. Her children are the most important in her life, her favorite meal is githeri and one of her favorite colors is white.
Josephine is a 69-year-old lady who is always smiling. Josephine admired handicrafts her friend's handcraft skills which led her to learn basket weaving as well. In year 2001 she joined the Mutini women’s group. Josephine likes to weave in the morning and in the afternoon after she is done with household chores. The most important thing for Josephine’s life is her family and time with her grandchildren. Her favorite meal is rice and ugali and her favorite color is pink.
Joyce D. M.
As the breadwinner for her family Joyce starts her days early. She prepares breakfast for her family, cleans her home and then goes out to find sisal to weave ropes to be sold in the local market. Besides rope weaving she weaves baskets in the Faith Women’s group in which she has been a member since 2013. Joyce says that her family and her job are the most important things in her life. In the future, she wants to buy a water tank in order to start farming vegetables and selling them in addition to ropes. Joyce sings in her local church choir.
Joyce has been renovating her house with the income she has made from Mifuko. She tells us that the savings from her earnings have changed her lifestyle and her home. Besides weaving she sings in the local church choir. She was taught how to weave by her grandmother and in 2017 she decided to start weaving Mifuko baskets in Kitoo Kinyee women’s group. She is optimistic about the future, she plans to start a large-scale farm of vegetables. Joyce is very appreciative of life.
Judith M. K.
Judith is a full time basket weaver in Nzeeni women’s group who dreams of opening a boutique for women’s and children’s clothes. Income from Mifuko has helped her buy food and pay for the school fees. She hopes to open her boutique soon and wants to continue with basket weaving.
Lucia K. M.
Several years ago Lucia was diagnosed with diabetes. She was stressed about hospital bills because the only source of income was small scale farming. Now this 51-year-old mother of seven is known as a hardworking weaver in her women's group. She is delighted to work with Mifuko as the income helps to pay for the medical expenses. The most important thing in life for Lucia is peace of heart and mind and her health. She loves red color.
Mirriam is a businesswoman who owns a small shop in her village. She has been weaving baskets for Mifuko in the Kithitu women’s group since 2013. She learned the skill from her grandmother. With the income from Mifuko she pay school fees, buy household essentials and a choir uniform for herself. Mirriam saves money to be able to buy land and build rental houses. She is passionate about singing in her local church. Her favorite color is black and favorite meals are chapatti and mixture of beans and maize. Family is the most important thing in Mirriam’s life.
57 year old Monica's passion has been basket weaving ever since she learned the skill as a little girl. She joined Kingongi women's group3 hyears ago where she has learned to weave two baskets a week. She is happy for the work she can do for Mifuko as the income allows her to support herself. Besides her work her family is the most important thing in her life. She is planning open a savings account.
Earlier Peninah weaved and sold ropes at the marketplace. In 2018 she saw women in her village weaving basket and became interested in the craft. She bought sisal and paper and started trying out basket weaving. Income from Mifuko has helped her to pay off a loan and now Peninah is saving to invest in livestock. Her family is the most important thing to her in life and her favorite meal is ugali and traditional vegetables. Her wish is to become known as one of the best weavers and a well known farmer in her village.
Ruth is a cow peas farmer. She learned to weave baskets ten years ago and she has been a member of the the Kingongi women's group for the last six years. This mother of six children is able to weave two baskets a week. In the future she is planning to buy a dairy cow and start selling milk in her neighbourhood. She tells us her favourite meals are ugali and chapatti. Ruth wants to become a great business woman, not just a farmer.
Syombua sells vegetables like sukuma, wiki, spinach and cabbages in the local Kalawani market. She started selling vegetables after realizing that most of the women in her village needed more vegetables. Sombua had been selling baskets for ten year before she joined in the Kyeni kya Kyanziu women’s group. She is planning to grow her vegetable sales and to be biggest vegetable seller in her village. She says family is the most important thing in her life.
Susan is a goat, chicken and cow farmer. She starts her days early by cleaning her house, sweeping her campground and letting her livestock out to find food. Susan has been a talented weaver since she learned handcrafts at the school in 1959. Susan loves working at Mifuko because the income allows her to buy more goats and chickens. Susan’s favourite color is brown and the most important thing in her life is her family and home.