These traditional baskets are woven from discarded Millet stalks, naturally dyed raffia and sometimes local grasses. The vibrant natural dyes used on the raffia for these tightly stitched coil woven baskets come from flowers, roots, leaves, and lichens grown by the weavers themselves, near the snow and glacier covered peaks of the Rwenzori mountains.
The women who weave these baskets support themselves entirely by their craft.
The Virunga mountain region of Uganda is right on the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda. The Batwa people are known as “The Keepers of the Forest” because they have inhabited the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest for over 60,000 years.
Batwa weavers in this area use natural dyes and local plants to create diverse baskets such as small wishing baskets and large cargo baskets. They believe if you make a wish upon an object and put it in a small lidded wishing basket, it will come true. They use the cargo baskets for storing and carrying goods.
Uganda is a landlocked country in the African Great Lakes region in East-Central Africa. The southern part of the country includes a substantial portion of Lake Victoria, shared with Kenya and Tanzania. Uganda also lies within the Nile basin and has a varied but generally moderate equatorial climate.
Uganda’s population was 34.9 million in 2014; the median age of 15 years is the lowest in the world. Uganda has the fifth highest total fertility rate in the world, at 5.97 children born per woman.
Uganda is one of the poorest nations in the world. In 2012, 37.8 percent of the population lived on less than $1.25 a day. Despite making enormous progress in reducing the countrywide poverty incidence from 56 percent of the population in 1992 to 24.5 percent in 2009, poverty remains deep-rooted in the country’s rural areas, which are home to 84 percent of Ugandans.
People in rural areas of Uganda depend on farming as the main source of income and 90 per cent of all rural women work in the agricultural sector. In addition to agricultural work, rural women are responsible for the caretaking of their families. The average Ugandan woman spends 9 hours a day on domestic tasks, such as preparing food and clothing, fetching water and firewood, and caring for the elderly, the sick as well as orphans. As such, women on average work longer hours than men, between 12 and 18 hours per day, with a mean of 15 hours, as compared to men, who work between 8 and 10 hours a day.
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All of our African baskets are verified Fair Trade, because we believe that indigenous people around the world should be compensated fairly for their amazing work.