In a bid to contain the ever accumulating toys’n’trains in my 4yo son’s room, I hot footed it to my local HomeSense thinking I’d pick up a pair of nice big rattan baskets. Not only would they be the perfect dump bins, but they’d be a lot nicer to look at than the plastic buckets he currently has; and more in keeping with our home as a whole. What I didn’t expect, was to get so over-excited by what I bought that I raced straight home, one tucked under each arm, to begin researching where they’d come from! And I’m keen to share straight away for I’d previously known nothing about the TK Maxx x Rwenzori project: hand-made craft direct from Uganda.
Thanks to a genuinely enthusiastic sales assistant, I noticed that the label on my baskets said, Made for you by: and then handwritten underneath in blue biro “Baguma Violet”. The logo said only Rwenzori, with the strapline: Made to do good in Uganda. Turns out that since 2008, TJX Europe (the parent company of both HomeSense and TKMaxx) have been working with community projects in Western Uganda with the goal of enabling parents to earn enough money to send their children to school. And according to my shop assistant, every penny of the £12.99 I paid for each basket, goes direct to the cause.
As it says on the HomeSense website…
- War, violence and political unrest, have meant an entire generation has missed out on education. There are very few schools in the remote mountainous regions and where there are schools there are often over 60 children per class, teacher shortages, few books or materials, and makeshift classrooms. Many parents couldn’t afford the school fees required for even this level of education, and children often miss school to help their families earn their living.
- In 2008 just over half the children (53%) were able to go to School. Enrolment has now risen to 94%, with over 10,000 children in 12 communities are now able to attend primary school.
What an amazing project! And one that has now apparently funded 20 new classrooms, 500 desks, 3,000 textbooks, box loads of solar lamps, materials, fresh safe water and latrines, and invested in teacher training. And in 2011, a sustainable trade programme was developed to help families increase their individual earnings. The results are the beautiful baskets in store right now. Snap them up before they’re gone! I did. Fastest purchase decision ever, and that was before I even knew my money was going to such a worthy cause. There’s various sizes on offer, and even some
And here’s a short video about the partnership…