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RwenZori Crafts

The Rwenzori Mountains of western Uganda are the backdrop for the village life of the women who produce RwenZori Craft baskets. RwenZori Crafts purchases their baskets locally, from women who are supporting their children and grandchildren. Some also have taken in orphans from the conflicts in Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo, and Uganda, and support them as well.

Women generally are able to grow food for their families, but need cash for school fees and medicines. Basket weaving provides additional income for these families.  RwenZori Crafts works directly with the women, ensuring baskets of exceptional quality, made entirely of natural components

The Process

Weavers in the Rwenzori region of western Uganda traditionally made millet baskets (ebibos) to serve millet bread, and coffee baskets (akaibo ko mwani) in which to present roasted coffee beans (Coffea robusta is native to Uganda) to welcome visitors.

The women use dry papyrus (Cyperus papyrus) stalks as the base of their baskets. They split the leaf stalks into long thin pieces, which are joined to make the framework of the basket. Dry raphia (Raphia farinifera) fibers and millet stalks are wrapped around this framework. 

Millet straw is a waste product of food farming, and is not dyed, as its slick surface does not adhere well to dyes. The raphia fibers readily absorb dyes, and the weavers have been trained in the art of creating beautiful dyes from plants. Different local and exotic flowers, leaves, roots and stems are used to create the beautiful colors of these baskets. Women grow these plants in their gardens, and often gather together for dyeing days, to dye their materials as a group, before weaving the baskets in their homes.

RwenZori Craft baskets are sold in accordance with Fair Trade Principals.