Meet Our Producers
Dsenyo works with 70+ women and artisans in Malawi. By creating long-term relationships we are helping our producers build their businesses, improve their skills and work their way out of poverty.
By working with Dsenyo, producers benefit from a vital boost to their business. We provide them with the training, support and all materials needed to fulfill our orders. With the fair labor wage they earn, most producers reinvest in growing their local business, paying school fees for their children, and buying clothing, fertilizer and household goods that they couldn't otherwise afford.
We also work hard not to create a relationship of dependency. Dsenyo offers free training in several areas (sewing, business, fair trade, product design, quality control, etc) contributing to producers overall business development. We encourage them to pursue local markets and other fair trade customers. By empowering groups to grow their business and not rely on Dsenyo for 100% of their income, we are helping them create a more stable future for themselves.
Umoja wa Wanawake
The name of this group means "union of women" in Swahili. It is a women's craft group at the Dzaleka Refugee Camp in Malawi. The group is mainly composed of Congolese and Rawandan refugees. Life at the refugee camp is challenging to say the least. However, these women are resourceful and creative. They are working to support their families and preserve techniques and traditions carried from their homelands.
MicroVentures Kasungu & Mzuzu
MicroVentures was born out of the MicroLoan Foundation, a charity based in the UK, very active in the field of microcredit lending to the poorest of the poor in Malawi. The mission of MicroVentures is to train women in business and other skills enabling them to be more successful business women after receiving small loans. Dsenyo has teamed up with MicroVentures and works with two groups of their graduates who completed the sewing training certificate and now own their own businesses. One group is based in Kasungu near the MicroLoan Foundation Malawi offices and the other group operates out of Mzuzu.
Ekwendeni Youth AIDS Resource Center
The Ekwendeni Youth AIDS Center is run by the Central Church of Africa Presbyterian (CCAP) in Ekwendeni, Northern Malawi. The center provides activities and HIV/AIDS eduction for local youth. Some of the clubs include drama, music, paper making, games, and life skills. The center leads HIV/AIDS stigma reduction campaigns in an effort to raise a better understanding of the disease, and builds teams of youth that provide home-based care for community members sick or dying of AIDS.
Made by Ekwendeni Youth Center: greeting cards
Nkhata Bay Woodcarvers
East/Central Africa is blessed with beautiful natural hard woods like teak, ebony and mahogany. Woodcarving is the primary art form in Malawi passed down from generation to generation through male artisans. There is a small group of woodcarvers near Nkhata Bay that Dsenyo commissions to craft custom, hand-carved belt buckles and buttons. The group is lead by Andrew Phiri who has been carving for over 25 years and studied with his uncle since he was a young boy to learn the family tradition.
Mwayiwathu HIV Support Group
Mwayiwathu formed out of the HIV-positive Living Group with Village to Village, a local community based organization. Mawyiwathu means "blessings" in the local language Chiyao. The 15 members of this group are primarily AIDS widows who are living with the virus themselves. They chose this name for their group because they see the work promised to them by Dsenyo as a blessing and a solution to some of the challenges they face. The women in the group use their wages to pay for transport to the hospital to get their ARVs, buy food, and purchase fertilizer for growing crops.
Made by Mwayiwathu: flower ornaments
This is a team of two young, industrious business women in Mzuzu, Malawi. The group is led by Agness Chiona who completed her training at the M.I.R.A.C.L.E. Technical College in Karonga, Malawi. This program trains orphans in sewing and then gives them a treadle machine upon graduation so they can start their own business. Agness, who operates Changu Ndi Luso Tailoring Shop ("Fast & Experienced"), teams up with Diana Shonga of D Tailoring Shop to work on Dsenyo orders.
Women's Empowerment Training Center
Elizabeth Chikoya started the Women's Empowerment Training Center out of her home. She was moved to help her fellow Malawians that are less fortunate than her. With the support of her husband, she was giving a small piece of land near their house to build a one room office/training center. The programs offered now include tailoring, mushroom farming, textile design and more. Dsenyo works with Elizabeth and a group of women that have trained with her.