We are dedicated to:
- Economically empowering women through vocational skills training in sewing, tailoring, and fashion design so that they can become self-sufficient and provide for themselves and their families
- Employing young women that graduate from our training program
- Designing quality, beautiful products that people feel good wearing
Mazuri Designs was founded in 2015 out of the Sewing Our Futures project initiated by the non-profit organization, Girl Up Initiative Uganda (GUIU), which aims to empower adolescent girls and young women in the Luzira slums of Kampala, Uganda. As part of its economic empowerment program for young women, GUIU established Mazuri Designs as a social enterprise arm to create an income and business opportunities for young women tailors and graduates of its vocational skills training program.
Supporting Economic Empowerment
In an economy with 70% youth unemployment, and 50% of its population being under the age of 30 years, Uganda is a country of growing entrepreneurship where youth use their skills and connections to earn an income, otherwise known as "hustling". Young women, in particular, face challenges related to poverty and lack of access to an education. In our community, many young women never finish primary school, get married and pregnant at a young age, and lack opportunities for gainful employment. In this patriarchal society, this leaves women financially dependent on men for security.
At Mazuri Designs, we empower young women with skills in sewing, tailoring and fashion design while also providing employment opportunities. In the midst of poverty and hardship, Mazuri women form a community based on creativity, friendship, and fun. Mazuri women learn that they are of value and have the ability to provide for themselves- we simply provide direction and allow them the space to grow.
Our young women are trained over the course of six months during which they learn not only how to use and repair a both manual and electric sewing machines, but also how to design items, interact with clients, provide customer service, and other basic business skills. After they graduate, our trainees can start their own shops, or if we have job openings they can stay on with us as we grow. Our vision is to provide sustainable work at a sustainable wage with safe working conditions.
Our fabrics are sourced from local markets, and reflect our culture in the traditional dutch wax fabrics that we use.
In Swahili, an official Ugandan (and East African) language, Mazuri means 'most beautiful'. Not only are our creations beautiful, but so are the lives of our seamstresses that are transformed by training and fair employment with Mazuri Designs.
Economic independence is a beautiful thing indeed!
Currently, all profits from Mazuri Designs goes directly into the Sewing Our Futures Training Program.
Mazuri targets two groups of customers: Firstly, our local community in Kampala, Uganda, and travelers near our workshop who are looking for quality custom tailoring. Secondly, international customers shopping online for beautiful, bold fabrics in ready to wear styles. Check out our online Esty store here.