Shanga Christmas Ornaments

Shanga is the KiSwahili word for bead.

Shanga Shangaa started in 2006 when Saskia Rechsteiner needed a product to display at the annual Christmas Fair in Arusha, Tanzania. From here Saskia began to look for staff, and her first employee was a young girl who was both deaf and mute. The workshop was set up in Saskia’s backyard and within a few months more than eight deaf ladies found work here. Now Shanga employs 31 disabled Tanzanian people.


Shanga started with necklaces which were sold locally and then from as far away as Kenya and Tanzania where safari companies sold them to tourists. Most of their pieces are made of materials which have been recycled. What they do prepare now is Christmas decorations made from beads which were created from local bottles melted down in a workshop.

All income from the Shanga workshop, restaurant and shop sales goes towards employing more disabled people. The company is not a charity or an NGO. The owner and director, Saskia Rechsteiner, says “What we want to do is make a good quality product that people want to buy, and which helps so many deaf people earn a salary who otherwise would have nothing.”

As the company develops and grows they can hire more people. It is their fourth anniversary this Christmas. So help them celebrate and spread the love by ordering a lovely decoration.

(soursce: TreeHugger & Shanga)


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