Travels to Africa with a girlfriend, took us to places we have only dreamed about. Before heading out on safari, we wanted to visit something uniquely African, where the locals worked and created. Imagine the thrill of visiting a recycling business and encountering women using vintage Chinese "Butterfly" sewing machines.
Shanga is one of life's small and heartwarming success stories. In 2007, Saskia Rechsteiner made some necklaces for a Christmas Fair in Arusha. The design was simple - utilizing marbles / beads made from the recycled glass, and sewing colorful fabric tubes. As a quilter, with a love of fabric, notions and all-things-sewing, I fell in love with their beautiful necklaces.
Today, Shanga employs over 50 disabled Tanzanian people. All income from Shanga's workshop of recycled products, restaurant and shop sales goes toward employing more disabled people . . . and the waiting list for jobs is endless. A single journey can change the course of a life. ~ Angelina Jolie for Louis Vuitton
After hearing your story, we stopped by Shanga. The tour company gave us a tour manager and driver for the day so we had them go with us to the workshop. They were so impressed that they are going to suggest it as a regular stop. There is also a nice restaurant so they may start taking folks there as well. We met the founder of the shop and we talked about starting a non-profit distribution in the US. Chicago Craig 11/9/2014
So happy to hear this, Craig! For us, Shanga was exactly what we were looking for - authentic, sustainable and heartwarming. We proudly wore our necklaces and told as many people about them that we could. In a region where there is little recycling, they have done a terrific job creating product from truckloads of items brought in. When we visited, Shanga had 8 employees - today, they "employ over 45 people with disabilities to create unique, high quality, handmade jewellery, glassware and home ware using recycled materials. These products are sold in Tanzania and all over the world, with profits being reinvested back into development of new products and further employment of disabled people."