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Friday, 11 May 2018
Published in PROMOTION

On May 12 we celebrated the World Fair Trade day.

In Afrikable we bet on the Fair Trade as a key tool to get women’s economic empowerment..

During 9 years we’ve been working and creating opportunities to many african women and their families, accessing to a decent job, training professionally and growing together to start to own their own lives.

Putting their faces and hearts to what’s behind the elaborate product; Hope, justice, professionalism and above all empowerment, such as Khadija Hassan that started making recycling products and now she is the project’s manager in Lamu.

Khadija Hassan

Or Mamá Madina, (Madina mother), one of our “grandmothers".

“Madina mother does not remember how old is she, more than 60 she says. She had 10 children but two of them have already died. She tell us that nobody hires somebody of her age, and much less to a woman that also does not know how to read or write.

She is very happy with the new sandal’s Project because she sees that her work is important. She takes care of apply glue to the pieces, dyeing, and apply polishing wax and polishing the sandals.

With the salary that she earns, she can bring food home and to buy medicine to her sick husband. She also can pay the school for her children and even she can send one of them to highschool”.

Mama Madina

And the same as them, even more women, Anonymous heroines, tireless fighters that thanks to the Fair Trade, they have been improving their lives and those of their families.

From Afrikable we know that there is another way to make economy, to make a fairer and sustainable world to everyone.

As consumers we have that big power in our hands, valuing not only the economics but also the social and ecological.

We want a new global economic order with a fair Exchange, a sustainable social and ecological development, of quality of life for today and for the future, definitely, responsable and solidary consumption.


Afrikable - #SomosComercioJusto


Author: Merche Cascajero | Translator: Rubén Duarte

Tuesday, 10 October 2017
Published in PROMOTION

Finally, the day to present the New Afrikable catalogue.

Behind each product, each photo and each design there is great teamwork that has lasted for years, and many stories to tell.

From every woman who, with perseverance, effort and their willingness to always improve, grow and better themselves, has cut, sewed and ran every stitch from the first to the last product with a smile on their face

Since that day Lola and I were sitting down with a pen and a notebook in hand, the new catalogue started to become a reality, instead of a new dream to fulfill, to showcase all the work we do every day at Afrikable, with enthusiasm, professionalism and the same goal as always: women’s empowerment and fair trade as a tool for change.

From every photo taken of each product, by the number one photographer and model, that with each flash takes you to another place where you can hear the sewing machines, the soft singing of women while working and the laughter of children in the background.

From the great and essential graphic design work, with a consummate professional at the front spreading energy through each improvement and idea put forward, where the outcome of the road we have travelled together can be shown, to achieve much more than a Fair Trade catalogue, a catalogue of stories, empowerment, self-improvement and effort.

Regalos solidarios de Comercio Justo Afrikable

A new catalogue with new products, in line with new trends, as well as the total upgrade of the existing products with remarkable improvement in quality and design.

All items shown in this catalogue are handmade under Fair Trade standards , by Afrikable’s producer groups: Jimudo Women Group, Masaai Crafts, Lamu Recycling Solution and Viatu Project.

Find out all about it!


DOWNLOAD your catalogue now or visit our online shop


Author: Merche Cascajero | Translator: Sonia Moscardó

Sunday, 17 September 2017
Published in PROJECTS

7 years ago, during our first trip to Lamu, Kenya, we met Lola Serra and Merche Cascajero.

We were following the project they had recently launched: AFRIKABLE.

It gathered a group of 10 women of different ethnicities and religions, with their children, who had important needs for subsistence. With Lola and Merche at the front, running on no more than their enthusiasm and total dedication.

At Free Design Bank, we feel hooked to this group of brave women from the beginning.

We wanted to provide our help and collaboration, from designing, by seeking methods and resources both in the design of products with improved commercialisation, always fair trade, and in the training and funding.

Amparo Balbastre 01

After these 7 years, the group has grown; more than 40 women and 100 children now live off the project. New facilities that have improved their life and work quality have been built.

Afrikable is more than an NGO. It’s a life project, which we fully share at Free Design Bank.

Today, you can feel the strength every single woman of the project transmits in every thank-you hug, in every word in Swahili, that don’t need translation because they strike deep in your heart.

During this last trip, we were very touched; we felt part of this beautiful project, in which, on a human level, we always receive more than we give.

Thanks Lola, thanks Merche.


Author: Amparo Balbastre , FREE DESIGN BANK Coordinator | Translator: Sonia Moscardó

Sunday, 17 September 2017
Published in PROJECTS

Once we saw the opportunity to set up this project together with Afrikable we did not hesitate. Almost in unison Amparo Balbastre, Carmen Gujarro and I thought that this was another one of those challenges Free Design Bank had to face. We talked to Merche Cascajero and Lola Serra and we all saw it clear, we would end the circle of needs; we would build the crafts workshop building that Afrikable had always needed, we would get new sewing machines and create a new collection of more attractive products, commercial products adjusted to the new technical possibilities of craftswomen.

The Free Design Bank team set off and many volunteer designers responded to our call, they were organised in three groups; one group would be in charge of design proposals that reused the plastic of all the water jugs consumed in Lamu, another group would propose exclusive sandal designs for the Maasai women group, the last group would work on proposals with Kanga and Kikoy fabrics. I assumed the leadership of the groups and projects, while Carmen was responsible for the management of the project and for refining the designs proposed by the volunteers; Amparo took care of the groups’ coordination and of creating or improving the prototypes’ patterns.

Manolo Bañó 01

Four months later, after many hours of work from both volunteer designers and the Free Design Bank leaders, the collection was ready to be produced by Afrikable’s groups of women… But, in which building? Truthfully, Merche and Lola moved quickly, on our arrival to Lamu we were surprised to see that the new sewing machines were set up and running, and above all that…The new workshop building was almost finished!!.

At Afrikable’s headquarters in Lamu we have spent three unforgettable weeks setting up the project, selecting the designs and assembling the machines, while Amparo trained the women on the use of the new industrial electric sewing machines. Those three weeks of close relations with the women of the project and their concerns have filled us with excitement, knowledge and strength to keep collaborating with Afrikable from the social design fundamentals that Free Design Bank represents for many years to come.


Author: Manolo Bañó, Manager of the FREE DESIGN BANK Social Design Project | Translator: Sonia Moscardó

Sunday, 17 September 2017
Published in PROJECTS

I’ve been collaborating with them since I found out about the NGO when I was at university thanks to a Free Design Bank collaborative project between designers and different organizations from developing countries. Later I had the chance to spend some time in Lamu as a designer, living day to day and developing products hand-in-hand with them. The experience was a blast, it has been with me ever since and keeps me tied to them.

They, every single woman who works for Afrikable and makes it possible, are a lesson of strength, and their example has forced me to always put myself in their place and set the record straight.

Afrikable has been showing us that obstacles are surmountable and there is no adversity impossible to overcome. It is a family that continues to grow and as a growing entity it needs resources that will develop with it. To present this project on their behalf is to give them a little push to help them achieve their goals. The fact that my company gave me the opportunity to improve their working conditions means finding a common ground between my context and theirs.

Carmen Guijarro 01

What motivates me the most is knowing that they get to keep all of this, the workshop, the tools, the training courses. The soul of all of this is to provide them with the mechanisms to continue to work.

I hope this is just the beginning, that they are continuously trained in these spaces, that more women join them so that it requires building one, three or five more floors. I hope that they keep growing, proud and brave, showing their integrity and energy.

They defeated the hard reality, but luckily for all, the future is theirs.


Author: Carmen Guijarro | Translator: Sonia Moscardó

Sunday, 17 September 2017
Published in PROJECTS

I still remember that day at the library when Carmen Guijarro called us to tell us the news... It has been granted!!!... We did it!!!... Finally the women’s workshop would be a reality!!!

My cries of joy still echo in the library’s walls (and they’re probably still ringing in Carmen’s ears) but it could not be otherwise, something Merche and I had been fighting for from the beginning, for more than 7 years, had become a reality.

We would be able to offer the women of the project a decent work place, professional machines to improve the production, proper storage space, a library of materials to store patterns and prototypes, design training workshops, increased production and many other essentials to be able to improve the working conditions of the project’s female workers, and the production, thus being able to reach more people through Fair Trade, then again having an impact on the improvement of the quality of life of many Kenyan women.

Factory 01

Carmen Works in a multinational fashion company as a designer and is a volunteer at Free Design Bank, a non-profit platform of the CEU University of Valencia made up of design students and designers, which collaborates with Afrikable since our inception. Carmen came to Afrikable for the first time in 2013 as a volunteer to help improve textile production.

She saw with her own eyes the problems workers faced daily: lack of space, lack of a proper storage place, a rented house where water would come in every time it rained and everything would get wet (the women, the products, the material, the children...). When it didn’t rain but it was windy, everything went flying out the window (the fabrics, the patterns, the threads…); in short, it wasn’t the right space. It wasn’t our first house, before that we had rented another house where the school, the dining hall, the kitchen and the workshops were on the same floor and interconnected. It was a very dark house, full of mosquitoes, and very small, which for the first months served to launch the project, but it wasn’t ready to take on the growth we have experienced during these years.

In 2014, with great effort, we were able to buy a land on instalments where we could grow by building appropriate spaces for all. There our dreams came true step by step: the children’s school and dining hall, the Volunteer Holidays programme’ facilities, and even the Maternity, but the biggest dream resisted. In the new facilities women worked wherever they could: inside the bedrooms when the Volunteer Holidays programme was closed, in the classrooms during school holidays, moving yet again when the Maternity building got the ceiling done... and under the trees when all the buildings were busy.

Many companies provide subsidies to the projects their employees submit through their Corporate Social Responsibility departments, which sometimes are voted and/or selected by their workers. And that was Carmen’s case when she presented the “COOPERATION THROUGH DESIGN FOR THE CONSOLIDATION, CAPACITATION, AND TECHNICAL AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT OF THE CRAFTSWOMEN GROUPS OF AFRIKABLE NGOD IN THE LAMU DISTRICT (KENYA)” project to her company.



The project also counts on the collaboration of Free Design Bank, in the hands of Manuel Bañó and Amparo Balbastre, who collaborate with Afrikable’s craftswomen by supporting them in their training in design and the creation of new products that will be manufactured in the new workshop. Free Design Bank provides the professionals, training materials, and designs necessary for the achievement of a professional commercial collection.

We want to thanks to Carmen, Manolo and Amparo for trusting Afrikable and for making this dream come true. Click on each of their names in order to learn about their emotional testimonies as the major force behind the project.

Asante Sana!

Factory 02


Author: Lola Serra | Translator: Sonia Moscardó

Saturday, 06 February 2016
Published in PROMOTION

If fabricating completely handmade products is a major achievement and satisfaction for women working in Afrikable, imagine what means giving a second opportunity and creating new things from what others get rid of and throw away. And that is what women do at Lamu Recycling Solution Project, a producer group that creates decorative items, costume jewellery and other accessories from a very particular raw material: litter.

Reusing and recycling is a way of understanding life and that is why Afrikable is very aware of environmental protection while fabricating its products. Afrikable works for transferring this awareness to all the people that are a part of the project.

 Litter in Lamu: the reality of a problem

Litter in Lamu: the reality of a problem

Lamu lives with a major concern related with the management of litter and residues. We can confirm that a collection service regulated by the government is practically non-existent. The neighbours themselves are in charge of regularly burning the piles of litter that are accumulated in improvised dumping sites, generating toxic emanations that contribute to the pollution of the atmosphere.

This situation jeopardizes the population because the lack of garbage collection and its correct treatment lead to an unhealthy scenario that can trigger the apparition of infections and different gastrointestinal, respiratory and cutaneous diseases. The population plays an important role in this reality since the lack of real awareness about the environmental problem existing in the isle and about the serious consequences that it can trigger, contribute in their daily practices by worsening the problem.

Afrikable and the environment: looking for solutions

Afrikable looks for alternatives that favour the environmental protection in Lamu and that is how Lamu Recycling Solution Project appeared; a producer group formed by women of the Orma tribe that work in the creation of products from raw materials that are collected from the garbage. Examples of these are: plastic bottles and bags, bottle tops, broken ceramic or wood from old boats. Do you want to know how these products are made? Women from the project show it to you in this video and extend you their thanks for your collaboration.



One of the Fair Trade’s principles is the respect for the environment and the consciousness-raising of the population about an environmental culture focused on the environment protection. For this reason, Afrikable integrates the environment as an educational objective in the schedule taught to the youngest ones at school. This is intended to make the new generations aware of this reality and so they take part in the search of individual and team solutions.

Products of Afrikable and creative recycling

Playing two different parts: one for the empowerment of the women and another one for the environmental protection. Are you interested in it? You can collaborate by acquiring some of the products made by the producer group of Lamu Recycling Solution Project on the Afrikable’s online shop.

  • Decorate your house and feel a piece of Lamu under your feet with this carpet woven with plastic bags in the traditional way of the Swahili Coast. It achieves the goal of recycling 340 plastic bags and providing a week of decent work to a woman.
  • We continue with the decoration for colouring and brightening up the house with this recycled curtain with movable figures in which 55 half-litre bottles are reused and 30 hours of decent work are offered to a woman. It is lightweight and easy to place. It is ideal for separating backgrounds.
  • Are you looking for a special gift? Handmade necklaces made from pieces of broken ceramic linked together in silver. It is certainly a good option for offering a unique and incomparable piece.

And as women of the Lamu Recycling Solution Project

Say in the video… ASANTE SANA!

Author: Estefanía Vera | Translator: Paula Aparicio

Saturday, 05 September 2015
Published in PROMOTION

Tips for your return. Remember: if you want, this can be just the beginning: we will tell you how if you keep reading.

Before starting your Solidarity Holidays I am pretty sure you asked yourself:

ü  What are the reasons for me to choose a Solidarity Holidays?

ü  What can I expect from this type of holidays?

There are a lot of questions in your head before starting the trip. You look for information, you read, you ask questions, you go to the information session on the program...We can assure you that the adaptation process when you arrive to Lamu is very fast, not to say immediate. Once you arrive you feel welcome and when you start with the project you feel home, but...What happens when you go back to Spain? Today we want to make some recommendations so your involvement does not end because, if you want this is just the beginning.

A piece of you in Lamu

Enjoy and give everything you have until the last moment. Do it for you, for the other volunteers and, of course, for the women and children you have shared so much during your stay. Get ready to say goodbye or see you soon, this is up to you, cause you know a piece of you will stay in the island. Don´t be afraid of being generous, it is in good hands.

When you come back to Spain, give yourself a few minutes every day to digest your experience, to reflect and remember the moments you lived. Don´t forget you can follow the life of the children and women that have showed you the meaning of the word "Fight". You can do it through Facebook and Twitter, with hashtag #livelamu. You will be able to see the progresses of the project but also how the children grow.

Keep in mind not everyone lives a Solidarity Holidays as you did. Only you know what you have lived so when you feel nostalgia, say thanks to yourself for having made that decision and think about actions to stay in touch with what you lived. There´s many ways for you to participate from Spain. Those actions help us keep the project and we would like you to cooperate.

A piece of Lamu in your home

When your holidays come to an end you leave a piece of yourself in Lamu but you go back home with a lot more new pieces, but the kind of magical pieces that you cannot touch...If you want to have a tangible bit of Lamu at home, here you have some ideas on how to prepare a space where you can remember Africa. At the same time, you will be helping the project cause what is around you has been made by Fatuma, Mariam, Ralia, Rukiya, Esha...This way you can have them a little bit closer.

Productos Afrikable

ü  For the bedroom: Elephants and flowers patchwork quilt. Hand-embroidered on a black background. Dreaming with elephants means wisdom, strength, good luck and prosperity. It is associated with solidity and respect for others so... Lama salama!

ü  For the living room: Dress up your table with the kanga tablecloth plus four napkins. Put colour in your table and share dinner and conversation about your holidays with your loved ones.

ü  For your corner: A carpet so your feet step on Lamu. Woven with plastic bags, it recycles 340 plastic bags and gives one woman one fair work week.

If you are a part of the lucky ones who are starting their holidays, don´t forget Solidarity Holidays aren´t only for summer. We're also waiting for you in autumn.

Author: Estefanía Vera | Translator: Estefanía Rodríguez

Saturday, 05 September 2015
Published in PROMOTION

When talking about the textile industry in Spain, it is unavoidable to mention the Inditex Group, founded by the businessman Amancio Ortega and whose most distinctive company is Zara, a worldwide business model and a clear example of success shown at every business school. But, do you know what is behind those jeans, T-shirts and dresses? The Spanish Organization for Fair Trade (Coordinadora Estatal de Comercio Justo) helps us answer this question thanks to their monograph published this year to commemorate the Fair Trade Day on May 9th. It invites us to pull the thread…(Link to the Spanish version)

In order to understand the textile global market and its trade imbalance, the start point must be the analysis of a production model in which big companies own more than a single sewing factory and only work in the design and distribution of their products, leaving the manufacture for businesses based in countries with very low work costs. This reality leads to a globalization of the production which causes two important phenomena: the relocation of production and the growing importance of the transnational companies Such phenomena provoke, at the same time, the diffusion of responsibilities, a decrease in salaries and the consolidation of a corporate power with higher and higher political influence.

Such scenario leads to maquila diasporas, that is to say, factories located in developing countries taking advantage of the benefits of cheap workforce and getting linked to the sector’s multinationals through subcontracting networks that are pretty complex some times.

Desglose Gastos Camiseta Fuente


[Picture: BREAKDOWN OF THE EXPENSES OF A T-SHIRT. T-shirt price: €29; 1: Retail sale (€17); 2: Benefits for the brand (€3,61); 3: Materials costs (€3,40); 4: Transportation costs (€2,19); 5: Intermediaries (€1,20); 6: Benefits for the factory in Bangladesh (€1,15); 7: General costs (€0,27); 8: Payment to the workers (€0,18)]

The Rana Plaza building collapse in Bangladesh

On 24 April 2013, an 8-storey building hosting garment factories and called the Rana Plaza collapsed in Savar, a town close to Dhaka. 1.130 people died in awful security and hygiene working conditions. This tragic event was a milestone in labour exploitation and opened an international debate on working conditions in the textile industry. Reality showed that almost all major brands were directly or indirectly linked to the factories involved in the accident.

Minimum wage in Bangladesh is €50/month, even after the substantial increase by 77% occurred after the collapse. Such wage increases provoked the relocation of the industry to Africa, to countries such as Ethiopia and South Africa.

Textiles and the feminization of poverty

Work in the textile sector is one of the most intense and feminized: women make up 80% of garment workers. Despite that, as shown by the Clean Clothes Campaign: “in most places they earn less than men, even for equal work as skilled operators”. Such wage discrimination means that women are more likely to be malnourished and to lack decent housing, access to health care, and community services such as clean water and sanitation. Additionally, as women must work longer and harder to make ends meet, it leads to exhaustion and injuries from stress and overwork.

This is a critic situation of inequality of women in the labour market already addressed in this blog and which Afrikable wants to face through the implementation of diverse measures, such as those related to maternity and work balance.

Spain and the Textile Fair Trade

In Spain, Fair Trade is mainly present in foodstuff, as 9 out of 10 Fair Trade sales involve those products. It remains thus little room for the crafts sector, in which textile is included. Barely 1.7% of total invoicing registered in 2013 belongs to textile products, but this figure grows gradually.

The Fair Trade textile supply in our country is certainly limited compared to other European countries, and this is due to the delay of 20 years in the development and implementation of an alternative commercial model. Nonetheless, the existing gap gets smaller and smaller every year, as shown by data from the Eurobarometer survey of September 2014, which determines that 45% of Spaniards would be willing to pay more for Fair Trade products.

Afrikable Jimudu Woman Group

Afrikable and the Textile Fair Trade

Afrikable makes its contribution by supplying Fair Trade products, as that is the basis of its work and a tool for empowering women. Afrikable’s female workers are divided into producer groups and, as we are talking about textiles we will focus on the Jimudu Woman Group which in Swahili means “women who fend for themselves”. They are in charge of producing gorgeous fashion accessories and home textiles with Kikoy and Kangas fabrics, local fabrics from the Swahili coast with flashy patterns and made of 100% cotton. Learn about the Afrikable textile products, an alternative to wear Fair Trade.

Author: Estefanía Vera | Translator: Ara Calavia

Thursday, 21 August 2014
Published in PROJECTS

Ladrillos Solidarios es el nombre de la nueva campaña que ponemos en marcha en Afrikable. Con ella pretendemos conseguir toda la ayuda económica posible para la construcción de un Taller de Calzado que garantizará el trabajo diario de las mujeres empleadas en la ONG. El taller formará parte de un futuro Centro de Formación y Empleo, un edificio en proyecto que nos permita seguir creciendo y apostando por el empoderamiento de la mujer en riesgo de pobreza extrema y exclusión social en Lamu (Kenia). 

¿Cómo colaborar con nosotros a través de Ladrillos Solidarios? Es muy sencillo. Cada ladrillo que necesitamos para la construcción del taller cuesta 5 euros. Ésta es una pequeña cantidad, pero lo bueno es que ¡tú decides! y puedes comprar cuantos ladrillos quieras. Recuerda que cuántos más tengamos, antes podremos hacer realidad nuestro objetivo. A cambio, Afrikable pondrá tu nombre en la pared del Taller de Calzado como reconocimiento a tu ayuda.

Si estás dispuesto a ayudarnos, entra en esta plataforma y realiza tu donativo. Ahí encontrarás más información sobre el proyecto. También es muy importante que hagas llegar a todo el mundo nuestro mensaje. Amigos, familiares o compañeros de trabajo pueden colaborar...y es que ¡la ayuda de todos es clave para construir conocimiento en Lamu!

La campaña finalizará el 31 de octubre, pero ya estamos deseando llenar las paredes de Afrikable de ladrillos solidarios. 

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Afrikable is a Spanish charitable organisation, registered in the National Register of Associations under number 1/1/594088 and in the Spanish Agency of International Cooperation for Development (AECID)'s Register of Non-Governmental Organisations under number 2033.


In Kenya our association is called Afrika Able Organization and is registered with Kenya's NGO Coordination Board under number 10976.


  • Lamu, Kenia.
    Madrid, Spain
  • +34 605 722 162