In the southern region of Zambia, hundreds of traditional village weavers make a variety of natural fiber baskets. The weavers are all subsistence farmers.
For many generations, weaving has been a traditional skill of the Gurune people of northern Ghana. Mostly done by women, basket weaving and other handicrafts supplement these subsistence farmers’ incomes.
Since wire baskets are woven by many men due to the difficult nature of weaving wire, they are able to stay home on their tribal lands instead of moving to cities to look for work. In the rural groups we work with, the family units are preserved so that the weavers and their families can live more traditional lifestyles.
The age-old tradition of basket weaving is usually passed down from grandmother to granddaughter. This helps to preserve Zulu culture as the grandmothers have the opportunity to recite oral history and stories to the younger generations as they all weave together.
Due to the remoteness, scarce population, and challenging rocky terrain in this area, fully one-third of the economy of the Msinga district comes from grassroots home based businesses such as farming and basket weaving.
This group is based in Kampala, Uganda and supports women within the city as well as in nearby villages. Their mission is to support as many marginalized women as possible through the promotion of their handcrafts.
The Batwa people are known as “The Keepers of the Forest” because they have inhabited the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest for over 60,000 years. The women who weave these baskets support themselves entirely by their craft.