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NOTE TO MY REGULAR READERS THIS BLOG HAS MOVED TO

http://ethnicsupplies.org/

Hope to see you there

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We have travelled through East Africa andMadagascar to bring you the best African textile and handicrafts from female producers who cut, sew, knit and bead. Because our products are handmade there maybe a variation in size or the slight imperfection. The raw materials are almost always harvested by hand and sundried before they are turned into the beautiful crafts that you see in our shop. Our products are full of colour and the colour is produced from plants or their roots

Our product range evolves from time to time and includes

Baskets: East African women produce a range of baskets which serve an important role in their day to day lives as well as in traditional ceremonies. Baskets are typically produced from Water Hyacinth, Banana trees, Palm leaves, Raffia, Papyrus, hide and Sisal

Handbags are produced from similar materials to these used in basket production as well as Raw Silk whilst some are made from Cotton

Our scarves are made from fine cotton of Tanzania and Raw and fine silk of Madagascar

Place Mats these are made from Raffia, Cotton and Palm leaves    

Beads, the most exciting beads are made by Uganda women using colour magazine paper. We also have the famous Masaai collars which are colourful and fun to wear

Costume Jewellery is produced from cow horns, semi precious stone of Madagascar, Wood, Coconut shells and seeds from plants

As well as our online shop the other way of distributing our products is through home parties. We offer a generous incentive to our party organisers. If you would like to find out more about being a party host/ess please contact us

That was one of the ideas discussed at the recent African union meeting. further details here

http://www.euronews.net/en/article/02/02/2009/gaddafi-elected-to-head-african-union/

What are the pros and cons of such a move?

Will it make for a stronger Africa for instance?

Who would be in charge of a nation?

How would they get around the different languages and cultures?

Please share your views

I don’t when or how I got into Face book and it doesn’t really matter. I don’t know all the tricks or ways of getting round it but I know enough to use it to communicate with people in my network and vice versa. Something that I never expected to gain out of being part of such a network happened a few weeks ago and I was really touched by it.

I received a connection request from Sam who is based in Uganda, I didn’t know Sam but at least 3 people I know were connected with him, so I accepted the request.

On or around 12 Jan 2009 Sam updated his status  and in it he said he was launching a campaign to support/resettle a 12 year old girl who had been raped by her boss and had recently given birth

Please follow the rest of the story here

http://www.newvision.co.ug/detail.php?mainNewsCategoryId=8&newsCategoryId=13&newsId=667867

I was so touched by this that I dropped Sam a note asking what I could do to help. Sam responded that any money, clothes etc would be useful. I asked him for his number too and spoke to him on the phone later that day and learned the gory details of the case.

 I told Sam that I didn’t have much to give, having only come out Christmas and the current economic down turn, but I would send £10 through a colleague who was due out to Uganda later that week.

£10 is not a lot of money to most us in the western world but in a country like Uganda where people live on £0.40p a day my contribution to this campaign was well received.

I was grateful that I had been able to contribute to the life of a destitute girl, that I would perhaps never meet and that a chance encounter online enable me to do this.

 

If you would like to help this young girl and her child please contact Sam Ouga at souga@newvision.co.ug

 

 Primark is in the news again for selling cheap clothes from unethical sources.  Both the BBC and channel 4 have reported time and time again about the plight of people that enable Primark to sell their clothes cheaply and earn huge profits for themselves

For details of the news items follow these links

http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/uk/shops+criticised+for+foreign+workers+pay/2869057

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7824291.stm

 A previous story line reported that Primark was sourcing clothes from an Indian factory that use children from refugee camps to embroider tops, sweaters and cardigans.  There was an uproar amongst my colleagues and friends, specifically that according to the programme Primark reacted by dropping this particular supplier instead of working with him to ensure that his working practices improve.

One of my colleagues had a differing view from the rest of us, which has got me thinking following the latest storyline. He was of the opinion that these people need jobs and we need cheap clothes and therefore companies like Primark fulfil both our needs and therefore it is a Win Win Win situation. I recall being so appalled by that statement that I was totally lost for words

My questions today are

1.       Given the credit crunch and current economic down turn are we seeking cheaper and cheaper clothing and therefore the likes of Primark are merely meeting our demands

 

2.       If that is the case should we then be appalled when we learn how our clothes are produced/sourced or are we being hypocritical in our views

 

3.        Can corporations such as Primark realistically check that their products are from ethical sources?

 

4.       If you are reading this what will you do differently as a result?

 

I do not buy clothes at Primark for my personal use for several reasons,  some  of which can that can be found at my other blog Ethnic Supplies but I admit to shopping there once when I wanted cheap clothing to send to African children in the slums of Kampala Uganda.

 


I read with interest the headlines yesterday 6 Oct 2008 that Starbucks was wasting 23 Millions gallons of water. I am not sure whether this is true or not. I called up The Sun newspaper to verify the story as I thought it was impossible that a company such as Starbucks that sees first hand effects of water shortages in Africa can behave in such a way.

The Sun told me this story was indeed true, I am not a regular reader of the the Sun newspaper in fact I found the story on Yahoo. I rang Starbucks and was they could not confirm or deny the story either way.

Why am I so interested in this story you may ask? I am not a regular at Starbucks so my interest was not because I wanted facts to enable me to take a decision to boycott Starbucks.

I saw the irony in this story, for you see Starbucks sources some of it coffee from Africa and one of the biggest issues facing African communities is the lack of access to clean water.

As I write my friends and I are running around like headless chickens trying to get people to our fundraising event at the Hilton Hotel in Cobham on 17 October 2008.

The reason we are fundraising? Yes you guessed it to get clean water to an African village such as the one where Starbucks gets it’s coffee from.

I would like to tell you about the people in this village they find themselves in circumstances beyond their control and there is something that is unique about these people they are resilient, friendly and welcoming and above all they do not ask for much.

The particular village in SW Uganda is in dire need of clean water. This is not an unrealistic expectation in my mind after all we expect to turn on the taps and get clean, germ and bacteria free water.

The women and children walk down the hills to get dirty water, they carry it back the hill and walk down again to fetch firewood to enable them to boil the water on an open fire to rid it of germs and bacteria.

This process takes up to 3 hours and understandably they are so exhausted by the end of it that they skip the bit where they have to go down the hill to fetch the firewood and they use the untreated water.

As a result of this those with compromised immune systems such as the children, elderly or the sick cannot survive. Some in this village will be HIV+, have malaria and TB and will be vulnerable to opportunistic infections, therefore access to clean water is important.

With this in mind I have got together with a few friends to do something about this water situation. We have had the quote for the cost of getting clean water in and that stands at £8000-£10000. This is not an awful lot of money in the scheme of things especially as that it would bring clean water to over 10,000.

We however haven’t had much luck with ticket sales thus far and ironically stand to pay a cancellation fee of £4000 to the hotel!

Can you help us? I sincerely hope so.

Further details are http://www.lethemhelpthemselves.com/events