Charity Nest, Collaborative Group, design label MAIYET and their African connection

Posted on October 5, 2011


In 2006, Rebecca Kousky founded Nest, an innovative social enterprise enabling talented women artisans in India, Guatemala, Togo, the Dominican Republic, and other developing countries, to build and/or maintain art or craft-based businesses. Unlike traditional microfinance loans with high interest rates, Nest allows loan recipients to repay their loans in product, which they market and sell – a system Rebecca has dubbed “microbarter.” Nest supplies loans, training, business education, and a marketplace, ensuring that each artisan they assist is able to create a self-sustaining business to provide for herself and her family. Through the funds raised through Nestination: India they hope to assist more with this pioneering approach to alleviating poverty.

image courtesy of

Nest are also involved with African based cooperatives through their partnership with the Collaborative Group and their new partnership with luxury clothing and accessories line Maiyet. And through this, and other sourcing programmes with other clients, they aim to increase their reach and impact in Africa. The Collaborative Group works to provide sustainable employment to artisans in need around the globe and provides these artisans with an opportunity to expand their businesses and change their lives.

The Collaborative Group’s partners with Feed Projects where over 30 Kenyan artisans have been employed in the last year and sees their product sold through retailers such as Lord and Taylor, American Eagle, and Forever 21.

“I choose to work with The Collaborative Group because they are doing amazing work around the world to source artisan made products that are not only supporting local communities but are very well made in craftsmanship and quality…The Collaborative Group has been a great partner for FEED because of their grassroots and heartfelt approach to helping artisans and sourcing artisan made crafts from around the world.”

Lauren Bush | FEED

In Kenya the Collaborative Group partners with the Maisha Collective to empower women refugee girls and young women from all over Africa to rebuild their lives with peace and dignity. They produce a line of unique tie and dye scarves and gain life-long business and marketing skills that develop their confidence and independence. They also work with a group of 74 women, in a village called Aitong near the Maasai Mara, called Nadamu Olosho (meaning Community Raiser in the Maaai language.) They undertake beading and jewellery making which enables them to provide for their children and families.

Togo has high numbers of HIV sufferers as women find little opportunity for work outside of prostitution, so in rural Togo the Group focuses on creating a successful batik business for women.

They also have a couple of projects in Morocco too.

Maiyet, named after an Eqyption goddess, is a pioneering, luxury fashion brand dedicated to identifying and providing market access to craftsmen and above all aims to promote development through high-end consumption. Maiyet was started by Paul Van Zyl, a former executive secretary of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission who was also named a “Young Global Leader” by the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in 2008. He is now co-founder of Maiyet, which is said to marry “old world traditions with new world design to create a collection that is uniquely inspired.”

campaign image courtesy of

campaign image courtesy of

Maiyet is deeply committed to forging partnerships with artisans to promote self-sufficiency and entrepreneurship in developing economies. So as well as other global countries, Maiyet partners with companies and artisans in Kenya, and South Africa to provide training and development for artisans in the developing world and so benefit their communities. Maiyet pays fair wages and advance deposits and furthermore, they donate a percentage of profits towards this training and development.

Maiyet SS12 collection - image courtesy

Maiyet SS12 collection - image courtesy

Maiyet SS12 collection - image courtesy

Maiyet SS12 collection - image courtesy

Maiyet SS12 collection - image courtesy

In order to ensure success, Maiyet has entered into a strategic partnership with Nest whom is dedicated to developing training programs that includes design direction, business & leadership development, and safety guidelines. Nest also work towards developing artisan businesses and so completes rigorous needs’ assessments of existing and potential partners with a goal to alleviate poverty, empower women and promote peace.

Ria Kearney sits on the board of a unique charity called Nest. On October 20th, 2011, they are hosting Nestination: India. Nest London’s aim is to preserve artisan traditions, culture and alleviate poverty and will be holding their first fundraising event which will be an indulgent night of traditional Indian food, an artisan craft bazaar, and a silent auction to raise funds for the women artisans Nest supports in developing countries. Their guest speakers for the night will include Rebecca Kousky, Founding Director of NEST and Kristy Caylor, Co-Founder and President of Maiyet, who partners with Nest to ethically source products from artisan communities. Kristy is formerly of GapRED, Banana Republic, All Saints, Stronghold Denim and Mercado Global.

This awesome night starts at 7pm, on Thursday October 20that La Porte des Indes, 32 Bryanston St,London W1H 7EG

To purchase tickets, please visit the following secure website:

If you are interested in purchasing group tickets (8+), then do contact them for the special discount rate (£60 per person) at the email:

Posted in: Fashion