Dsenyo is a social enterprise. We believe business is a powerful way to address social and economic problems. Countless challenges confront creative and industrious people in Malawi, Africa as they try to build their small businesses, practice their craft and support their families.
After living and working in Malawi, artist Marissa Perry Saints founded Dsenyo in an effort to create opportunity for hard-working, African women and artisans. Dsenyo offers hand-crafted bags and accessories that celebrate African textile design. We follow Fair Trade principles working to create maximum benefit for the women, artisans and communities in which we work.
Dsenyo, a growing company in the ethical fashion industry, aspires to empower a generation of African women and artisans eager to address the challenges facing their communities.
Dsenyo accessories are handcrafted in Malawi and Colorado. We work with several sewing cooperatives and are expanding our production in Africa. By 2012 all Dsenyo products will be made in Malawi. Dsenyo pays a fair wage, develops long-term relationships with producers and provides much needed employment for women and artisans. In addition to creating jobs, we donate a portion of sales to community development projects in Malawi, and partner with nonprofits here and abroad to help them raise money for their causes.
About Fair Trade
Fair Trade is an alternative approach to international trade and is a movement to use the power of our everyday consumption to create opportunity for marginalized people all around the world. In general, companies and organizations that call themselves "fair trade" commit to following an internationally agreed upon set of principles or core values. These principles look at fair trade as a holistic approach making it not only about paying a fair wage, but also building capacity, committing to work with marginalized people who need these opportunities the most, being good stewards of the environment, respecting cultural traditions, working collaboratively and engaging the producers in the decision-making process and developing long-term relationships among other things. For a full list of these nine principles of Fair Trade please visit www.fairtradefederation.org. To continue reading about our commitment to fair trade click here...Read more
Dsenyo makes every effort to use low-impact dyes and sustainable fibers like jute, hemp and organic cotton where possible. We reduce waste by composting organic scrap material, and we re-purpose textile remnants for use in other products. Our “Old for New” recycling program allows you to send back your used Dsenyo bag and receive a 10% discount on your next purchase. We will reuse, recycle and compost materials in the old purse.
Where is Malawi?
Malawi is a small, densely populated country in Central Africa. It is located at the southern tip of the Great Rift Valley and is bordered by Mozambique, Zambia, and Tanzania. Some facts about Malawi:
- 14 million people
- 14% of the population living with HIV/AIDS
- Life expectancy only 43 yrs
- 80% of the population live as subsistence farmers
- Multi-party democracy since 1994
- Former British protectorate (not colony)
- National languages are Chichewa and English
- 1 in 10 children are expected to die under the age of 5
- Women have six children on average
- Malaria is still the #1 cause of death
- Only 50% of females are literate compared to 76% of males
Hope is written all over Malawi
- Fair Trade offers a real opportunity for marginalized people to get access to resources and viable markets
- Malawian women are creative, extremely hard working and eager to learn new skills
- Gender equality is making progress (Malawi has a female Vice President along with several female Members of Parliament)
- Awareness about how HIV/AIDS is transmitted and how to prevent infection is increasing
- Knowledge about family planning is improving
- Families increasingly value education for their daughters, wanting to send them to school and are only limited by lack of financial resources