Shanga, Tanzania's little gem


Héloïse's favourite


I spent several months in Tanzania, a wonderful country. There I discovered mountains and volcanoes, great lakes and wild animals. But most importantly I met Saskia Rechsteiner, a formidable woman who is generous and very talented. She had the great idea of setting up a social enterprise that employs people with disabilities. I met her several times at her foundation's premises. It was a wonderful opportunity for me to meet the employees, have a drink in the café she opened next to the shop and see her work in action.  


The idea came to her in 2007. For Christmas, this woman of Dutch origin made a necklace using local fabric and some beads found here and there. It was an immediate success.


The orders flooded in. Saskia then hired a deaf woman she knew well, then another and another. Demand grew, and very quickly the small team set up shop in a larger building. The Shanga foundation was born. Today the range has expanded and you can buy all kinds of objects made from recycled materials, glass, paper, Maasai beads, pots, pans and so on. I love spending time there. I visited with my children who had a whale of a time and enjoyed taking part in workshops. They made necklaces, blew glass and learned a great life lesson. This place is full of love and now with little fanfare employs around fifty people with disabilities. Hats off to Saskia!


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