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Travel Diary \\ Ethical Fashion Africa : Not Charity. Just Work.

Last month, our founder Virginia Bruce travelled to Nairobi, Kenya to meet with some of the inspirational people behind the Ethical Fashion Initiative (EFI) and Ethical Fashion Africa Ltd (EFAL). A part of the International Trade Centre, the EFI has been a key player in poverty alleviation by using the fashion industry as a vehicle for some of Africa’s most disenfranchised communities.

Through the Hands That Shape Humanity social enterprise, the REAL Group has already collaborated with EFAL on a range of summer tote bags designed by prominent Australian designers and produced by a small team of Massai artisans.

From walking through a slum in Nairobi to visiting the EFI workshops and the people she met along the way, Virginia shares some of the highlights – and surprises – from her journey.

05.05.14 – Ethical Fashion Africa Ltd : Not Charity, Just Work.

I had only been to Africa once – and that was to Cape Town to meet with the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation and our partner and founder of Hands – Garth McIntosh. …

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Supporting the R.E.A.L. Foundation with a spring garden luncheon.

A few weeks ago, We met Mickey Robertson (owner of Glenmore House) and her daughter Clementine. As we had been treated to a fantastic lunch where each ingredient came straight from the incredible seasonal garden, we thought it would be wonderful to share this culinary experience with some of you, and were we right!

Last week-end we visited Mickey again and seized this opportunity to host a successful fundraising event for the R.E.A.L Foundation. The focus of the foundation is to empower individuals to reach their own potential through tailored and innovative mentoring programs, through the Hands That Shape Humanity social enterprise.

We were joined by a group of like-minded friends and sustainability enthusiasts to enjoy a frolic in the garden and a springtime luncheon specially created by r.e.a.l.’s executive chef and long-time friend Eon Waugh.

Head-chef for a day of our little pop-up restaurant, Eon created a succulent menu of spring soup and tart, which we served in our Hands That Shape Humanity ceramic bowls and plates, while Garden teas and organic coffee were …

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Ethical Fashion: Doing good has never looked so good.

Hands’ cares about the ethical, social and environmental origins of its initiatives, embracing fair trade and low impact practices, seeking only to work with people who share this commitment. We believe that a company can be profitable and have a strong conscience.

This summer, in partnership with Myer, Hands’ joined forces with the Ethical Fashion initiative, an International Trade Centre initiative, focused on creating opportunities to connect “the world’s most marginalised people to the top of fashion’s value chain for mutual benefit”. This isn’t about charity, it’s about “organizing and allocating resources in such a way that this profit is also shared with the first stages. This is ethical fashion,” explains Simone Cipriani, the man at the head of this initiative.

Most of the workers employed by Ethical Fashion are women, whose empowerment is a major driving force of this initiative, along with eradicating extreme poverty. By fostering local creativity and enabling female employment, a sense of balance is restored in communities where women have generally had little to no independence from their fathers, brothers, husbands.

These programs radically change …

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The SEAT Project featured in MiNDFOOD

Great news: our favourite little S.E.A.T. is featured in the December 2011 issue of MiNDFOOD magazine!

Grab a copy and take a look at page 64, where Virginia and the ALNF’s Kim Kelly talk about The S.E.A.T. Project, the Australian Literacy and Numeracy Foundation (ALNF) and the impact they are having on Indigenous literacy. You’ll also learn more about how the Project is allowing us to educate local kids on sustainable and ethical consumption.

“If you can’t read and write, you don’t have any opportunities,” Kelly says. “I think Australia needs to get behind change when it comes to our Indigenous kids and give them the same opportunities that kids get in the cities, and I think S.E.A.T does that.”

What do you think?

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