Working with small communities
In 2012, Helen Kaminski started a dedicated workshop in a Sri Lankan village that was badly affected by the 2004 Tsunami. Today, the workshop has evolved into a network that employs over 2000 craftspeople who skilfully hand make raffia braid and crochet pieces; with a further 400 paid craftspeople in training.
We partner with village leaders to form training programs within their local communities. Our artisans are given the opportunity to upskill through our paid development programs, where they learn to braid or crochet raffia by hand.
Tension, consistency and dedication to the craft are key, and after weeks of training, those artisans are able to progress into continuous employment with us.
From there, our team coordinate and visit these remote communities to distribute the raffia for our artisans to collect. In their own time, while most are looking after their homes and children, our artisans have the ability to craft coils of braided raffia or finish the fine art of crocheting a complete hat by hand.
Our most experienced and dedicated artisans can take up to three days to craft a crochet hat by hand, completing over 18,000 stitches, seamlessly crafted with a continuous feed of raffia, showing no visible knots or joins.
Today, we have partnered with over 50 village leaders and trained over 2,000 artisans. Every time we visit our artisan villages, we are rewarded with knowing that these women are given the opportunity to learn new skills, gain financial independence, work while looking after their families and become part of a positive and social community.