MAYAMIKO Trust is a UK registered charity since 2008 which was developed by Mayamiko Chairperson, Paola Masperi and the Late Hon Minister Kate Kainja Kaluluma, who had been Minister for Education in Malawi and at the time was Minister of Women and Child Development. The aim of them setting up the trust was a need and a want to support women in developing communities as research shows that empowering women has significant positive effects not only on themselves and their children, but to their extended community and society in general. They believed that education, skills training and sustainable livelihood would be key to women’ empowerment.
Mayamiko focus is on Malawi where they are based. Malawi is cotton rich and so it was a natural decision to work with local textiles. After Kate passed away in late 2007, Mayamiko was set up by Paola and four other trustees who had spent time working and living in Malawi and other African countries. Malawi is one of the poorest countries in the world, unemployment is a huge problem and for many families every day is a struggle to make ends meet and put food on the table. Mayamiko created a production unit in Malawi where disadvantaged women are trained in sewing and the fabrics and materials are locally sourced in Malawi, this is working towards establishing a sustainable sewing and knitting training schools. A stable and secure income can make all the difference and help families and individuals out of poverty. Mayamiko strives to provide this for its workshop employees who receive a fair wage, training, free education and child care.
On the 15th of October an exciting collaboration between Mayamiko, Slaves of the Extraordinary (SOTE) and designers including
Lauren Solomon of SLAVES OF THE EXTRAORDINARY
Offset Warehouse (styled by ethical stylist Lucy Harvey)
will bring a fun and exciting fundraising event in Kensington Roof Gardens. There will be champagne, canapés, performances, live music, a fashion show, a ‘text’ raffle and a silent auction. The auction will feature pieces designed and donated by the designers as well as other companies, all with a focus on sustainable and ethical creativity. Tickets will be on sale shortly.
The proceeds from this event will go to Mayamiko as they aim to alleviate poverty through sustainable development, job creation and raising awareness of HIV/AIDS. Central to the project is the workshop and training centre where the local women are trained and produced gorgeous clothing, bags and accessories. Mayamiko recently produced the FAIR+true collection available from FashionConscience (http://www.fashion-conscience.com/ethical-fashion-brands/fair-true-fair-trade-organic-and-eco-designer-fashion-clothing/fair-trade-print-ruched-sun-dress-4.html ) a collection of bright summer dresses and skirts and is working on the A/W samples at the moment, an exciting more directional line featuring checks, oversized and asymmetrical styles and more tailored pieces.
They are also working on a new collection for Fashion by Mia that combines recycled fabrics with African textiles and will be showcased at the event in October as well as their own childrenswear collection.
All in all, Mayamiko is an incredibly important project for both its employees and students but also the Malawian and African Fashion industry. There is a Chichewa saying “Phukusi la moyo sasungilana” which translates roughly to “do not let another keep the valuables of your life”. Mayamiko believe in helping people to take control of their own destinies through trade not aid. Where aid can often lead to dependency and increased control of the donor over the recipient, trade allows those involved more freedom and choice.
AFG encourage you to make it down to the fashion show in October and give Mayamiko and their collaborating partners all the support you can.
So, to purchase your ticket for the ‘Inspired’ event please visit www.mayamiko.org/inspired and above all, do spread the word!
Author: Imogen Butler and Jacqueline Shaw