Saturday, September 19, 2015

Proud to be Part of the Ethical Fashion Revolution

Proud to be Part of the Ethical Fashion Revolution

I think I can probably speak for everyone when I say, none of us wants to be wearing clothes and accessories made by children in sweatshops; or in factories where workers risk their lives everyday due to poor health and safety standards as a result of greedy owners or retailers cutting corners to save money and line their own pockets; or where the cotton farming or production process is wreaking havoc on our environment and endangering the lives of the communities living nearby. But in today's fashion industry, these unethical practices are prolific, and when we buy products on the high street, we are given so little information about where our purchases have come from, that the chances are we are unwittingly making purchases that support these practices. 

In recent years, an ethical fashion movement has emerged. This has led to a wave of ethical fashion brands offering consumers products that have been made by workers who are paid fairly and who work in safe and healthy working environments; and in a way that is sensitive to the environment and minimises environmental footprint in the production, packaging and transportation of goods.

At Mzuribeads, we are proud to be part of this ethical fashion revolution. Designers using our beads in their creations have chosen a bead that is ethical and life changing to the women who make them. The Mzuribeads co-operative of Ugandan women are running their own social enterprise to build a sustainable income that is transforming their lives and helping them to move out of poverty. Through this business model, our Artisans feel empowered, which brings with it huge psychological benefits. And by making our beads from recycled materials - recycled paper, recycled glass, and cowhorn (which is a by-product of the meat industry) - and natural materials - banana leaf and barkcloth, our beads have a very small environmental footprint too. 

If you're a designer looking for fabulous, yet ethical beads for your next creations, why not give Mzuribeads a try. You won't be disappointed!


African Jewellery, African Beads, Ethical Beads, Ethical Fashion, barkcloth beads, African fashion, cooperative, cowhorn beads, design jewelry, eco beads, eco friendly beads, ethical design, fair trade jewellery, RECYCLED BEADS, UNIQUE BEADS, Designer Beads

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Thursday, September 10, 2015

Matatu For Dummies (part 1)

Matatu for dummies 
(part 1)

It's my turn for blogging this week and my topic is the matatu experience in Uganda: a ambitious (and hopefully funny) account of a Greek/Scottish girl. 
There is a second part to follow on the next weeks...
Please be seated, no seat belts necessary (or available).

Lesson no 1
What is the matatu? 
This was my question when I was told we're taking the matatu from the airport. "The taxi", he says, "you'll see". And I saw! I saw a kind of van, camper-van shape, only larger, with basic seating (some chairs unfold), a driver (thank god!) and people moving in and out of it watching their head.

Lesson no 2 
Personal space. 
On the matatu, there isn't such a thing. If you were hoping to have a seat somewhere your thighs do not touch the thighs of the person sitting next to you (or worse both sides...), where your briefs do not stick out of the gap on the back of your seat, where your knees had at least a bit of breathing space without piercing through the front seat, and that your hair-do does not touch the ceiling, obviously you haven't been in a matatu before. 

Lesson no 3
The conductor. 
It might take you a few rides before you learn this lesson but the chances are very high you will do one day. The conductor is mainly a nice guy that will help you get the right matatu for your destination (most of the times) and there is a chance he'll be sitting on your lap for part of the trip. And by saying lap, I mean lap but not in the way it sounds. It's a rather surprising and uncomfortably awkward experience that if you're a healthy and open person you'll want to at least laugh without shame. Basically, if you're the last one to get a seat in the matatu near the door, when it's full, the conductor will squeeze you in along the seat and close the door half sitting on you, you then squeeze the person next to you and they squeeze the person next to them with the danger to push them out of the window. 

To be continued...


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Sunday, September 6, 2015

Are we Fair trade?

Are we Fair trade?

Mzuribeads operates in a urban village in Uganda, making paper and natural beads. An international company proud to be a community cooperative in Uganda and registered as a limited company in the UK. 

Uganda's main exports, coffee, cotton and tea are sold to large corporations around the world. Prices for these materials
are determined in wall street and other financial centres. When demand is low, prices for these raw products plummet. European farmers receive subsidies from governments that act as a buffer for fluctuating prices. Ugandan farmers are left exposed and are often faced with making a loss.

Farmer's facing huge losses can do two things; They can sell off their land to bigger farms or developers. Smaller businesses very rarely get a fair price for the land. If they decide to keep farming, they are forced to grow and produce more in a shorter period. This might make money for a couple of years but when the soil is completed eroded and has lost most of it fertility, the farmers start losing money again. More pesticides and chemical fertilisers are used that increases the problems. 

Lives, families and the environment are destroyed. Trade agreements like the Trans- Pacific Partnership or TPP ensure international corporations receive their large profit margins. By keeping wages low, they force governments and local people to damage and destroy their land. The central aim of fair trade is a fair price. It is not fair that a corporation, can turn cheap raw materials  into vast profits in international markets. 

Mzuribeads central aim is to supply a fair price for the products made. We are not fair trade certified for two reasons. Firstly, it is mostly food items that qualify and secondly, it costs a lot of money to go through the process of certification. Mzuribeads, as a small business, does not have the funds.

We are part of a movement, a movement that campaigns against TPP and other agreements that put so many people at risk. The movement is gaining momentum and needs to win, for people and the land we live on. People around the world are fighting many battles, Mzuribeads is proud to be part of the fight. 

Mzuribeads, Uganda, cooperative, fair prices,  Africa, Beads, volunteer Uganda, Ugandan beads, trade, fair-trade

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