Ensuring a Future

Katundu, Malawi

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Katundu Workshop with stunning views across Lake Malawi.
Katundu Workshop with stunning views
across Lake Malawi.

Located in the magical surroundings of Likoma Island, Lake Malawi, Katundu is a small but growing fair trade enterprise producing high quality hand finished home furnishings.

Intricate contemporary designs are created by the team of 26 employees using natural wooden beads, coconut husks and shells. The inspiring designs are combined with a variety of rich chocolate, hessian and blue colours to provide a quality finish to an exclusive range of products that speaks volumes for African design around the world.

Beading is being added to a bedspread by Fanny who is sitting outside the Katundu workshop.
Beading is being added to a bedspread
by Fanny who is sitting outside the
Katundu workshop.

Likoma Island is situated close to the Mozambique coastline of Lake Malawi. With a population of nearly 9,000 the main economic sectors are agriculture and fishing. There are a few unpaved tracks used by a small number of vehicles. The easiest way to get around the island is by foot. Katundu has therefore opened up Likoma Island to commercial and ethical production diversifying business activities away from traditional agriculture and fishing.

The production process requires quality rather than quantity! Each product is carefully designed and the colour selected. Shells and beads are then selected from a store comprising clear wine bottles which contain an array of beads. These are then placed in small wooden trays and are stitched onto the products by the team.

Iris and Talumba adding beadwork to cushion covers.
Iris and Talumba adding beadwork to
cushion covers.

There is a relaxed working atmosphere. Conversations take place, music is played and chuckles of laughter and plenty of giggling seem to be part of the work ethos! Coupled with its location with stunning views of Lake Malawi this must be one of the nicest places to work!

Katundu started work in 2006 and has quickly grown to become the islands third largest employer. The 26 adult orphans bead, stitch and help in designing the products ranges. Orphaned from the ravages of AIDS, the employees have been provided with employment, empowerment and independence in an area where jobs are scarce. The income provided by employment extends to numerous family members and underlies the positive impact that Katundu as created.

Ansity and Jessica taking a break from beading.
Ansity and Jessica taking a break
from beading.
Theresa selects beads from the "bead bottles" in the Katundu workshop.
Theresa selects beads from the
"bead bottles" in the Katundu workshop.