2020… oh what a year it has been. We found new ways to live, work and socialise. While it hasn’t been easy, many have took this opportunity to reconnect with crafts, nature or distant relations. We cried hard and we laughed harder at the endless memes; watched hundreds of hours of TV and spent too much time looking at our screens. It’s nearly at an end and who knows what the future holds. But, we have some good news to share, here are some highlights of this year-to-remember… or forget.
Despite having to send all our Mayamikans home when the virus started to spread, we made sure everyone stayed safe and found ways to adapt. We turned our workshop into a distribution centre, made masks for the community, found ways to work from home and even created online training programs in the hope of developing empowering new skills for women in Malawi and beyond.
Not to mention, we sponsored over 5000 masks which went towards the most disadvantaged communities, with more to come in January!
Our COVID19 awareness flashcard are being used across remote communities in Malawi, where we have used our network to make them accessible and translate into as many languages as possible! They have also been used in rural schools in Kenya. Meanwhile, our mask patterns have been used around the world, including here in the UK at the Marylebone Project, one of the largest women’s homelessness hostels.
After all this we also managed to keep going with our training and 12 new women graduated from our tailoring academy. Also, under the Mayamiko Trust’s business and financial management programme, 5 trainers trained 50 budding women entrepreneurs, giving them skills to start their own business
Partners to be Proud Of...
The charity Unity Works that help run Mail Out, our postal partner, has also done a stellar job engaging their employees throughout the pandemic. Based in Kentish Town, London, they provide training and employment for people with learning disabilities and/ or autism and pay the London Living wage! As well as keeping on their apprentice so he can graduate with all his qualifications next year, they kept going during Lockdown with an online program including everything for Zumba to cook-alongs and against all the odds provided training and development for 16 trainees who didn't miss a day's wage. Not to mention they sent out a whopping 3100 Mayamiko parcels for us this year.
2020 also saw us find new partners in Amma and Yewo. We're always on the lookout for organisations who are really making a difference, providing opportunities for marginalised groups and creating something beautiful in the process. When we found Amma, we got everything they stood for! Employing mother makers in a rural area of Sri Lanka, they use food waste and other botanicals to create natural dyes for their own hand woven material - made with real craft and care!
“The fashion and textile industry is one of the largest polluting industries worldwide and we believe that the route to tackling fast fashion is through re-connecting people with the processes that go into creating there clothing and textiles.” - AMMA
YEWO is a jewellery brand sourced from near our workshop in Malawi. They have managed to fuse modern design and traditional crafts to produce something unique. They’ve been around for only 2 years but have worked hard to create a real family. Training up locals in metal and wood work, creating jobs, providing stability and reinvesting into the community; all while bringing us beautiful jewellery pieces.
Finally, we would like to say thank you for all your support!
Stay strong and see you in the new year…