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The People Tree Wheelchair Campaign is part of the fair trade fashion brand’s Autumn/Winter jewelry collection. The range was created in collaboration with the Bombolulu Workshops and Cultural Centre in Kenya, which operates under the Association for the Physically Disabled of Kenya. The forty-year-old initiative is officially a non-profit, a member of the World Fair Trade Organisation, and is entirely self-sustaining—making it more of a social business than anything else. Bombolulu’s mission statement, which is to “[e]nable persons with disabilities to overcome their physical limitations and empower them economically and socially to become self reliant and fully integrated members of their communities” makes it clear that the handicrafts they produce are simply used as a tool for the greater good.
The People Tree Wheelchair Campaign itself mixes Kenyan prints with a flashy gold creating a mix-and-match style that’s coveted in the middle-class Western world due to the post-recession emphasis on understated glamor and “giving back.” Using mostly brass and batik, the collection contains necklaces, earrings, chokers and bracelets. Beyond the collaboration with Bombolulu, every 100 pieces of the People Tree Wheelchair Campaign collection will go to funding a tricycle wheelchair for a disabled child in Kenya.
In times of uncertain economics (and sadly, most other times), it’s often the people who need social, financial and environmental support the most that are left behind when the economy. Alas, it’s not the economy, stupid. But it’s the inequality, stupid. Unequal conditions means that countries like Kenya (and Western countries too) are unable to provide employment, education and healthcare for its disabled populations. Bombolulu Workshops and Cultural Centre is a social business that has creatively responded to a lack of support for disabled artisans in Kenya—and the People Tree Wheelchair Campaign is using its clout in the fair trade and sustainable fashion industry to make the most of the initiative.
People Tree Website
5 Huguenot Place
17a Heneage Street
Telephone: 0845 450 4595 or 020 7042 8900
Fax: 020 7377 6303