Katundu was founded in 2006 with the objective of empowering women through artisanal training and ethical employment.
We believe that jobs provide a sustainable income whilst also instilling pride, dignity and purpose, giving people the skills and knowledge to improve their own circumstances.
Katundu's vision has been built around our passion; designing and creating luxury items in an ethical environment, empowering women and through them the local community
We have the privilege of working with artisans with inimitable skills where each individual piece is crafted meticulously by hand; a process of creation where beauty and soul are connected through each piece. Recycled and sustainable materials add another dimension, respecting the environment and utilising what it has to offer.
Katundu has grown from a small company, based on the remote and idyllic Likoma Island in Malawi, to a workshop with an extremely creative and diverse product range. Our signature range of hand beaded textiles are complimented with statement chandeliers and interior pieces - wall art, rugs/baskets made from baobab and maize string and frames and furniture made from old disused fishing boats, interior accessories such as curtain/mosqiuito net ties…..the list goes on!
The most important part of our philosophy is to create high-end luxury interior items for the global market. Luckily, we have the privilege of working with artisans with inimitable skills where each individual piece is crafted meticulously by hand; a process of creation where beauty and soul are connected through each piece.
As we are relying on our artisans to create the highest quality of work, we believe that it is our responsibility to provide fair and empowering employment. We pay fair wages, but we also relieve the pressure of everyday life for our team by offering a loan scheme, medical support, and education fees for staff children.
When you invest in a women, they re-invest 90% back into their families and communities. At Katundu we have incredible local women rocking their roles as managers, carpenters, tailors, designers, and as role-models for their friends, family, and local community.
At Katundu we use as many local, natural and recycled material as possible. This includes baobab/ maize string, scrap metal, glass bottles, grey seeds, clay mud beads, copper geezers, recycled boat wood, and more.
Meet our Artisans
"Before working at Katundu I was just staying at home with my family of eight. Not only have I learned how to make different products at Katundu, I have also learned how to manage a shop, keep stock, make sales and meet people from different countries. I am a single mother and am now able to look after my child as well as my own mom and sisters when they need financial support."
"Since working at Katundu I learned to be a manager, use the computer and to make beautiful products from recycled materials. My job has enabled me to support my family of 10 people and I found new friendships in my fellow female artisans."
"Working with Katundu has taught me many things such as how to bead textiles, use empty bottles to make interiors and how to be a manager. I'm happy to manage the production amongst my co-workers and friends and to be able to share jobs with those in need. Now that I have my own income I feel that I am more independent to do what I want in my life and have managed to sent my four children to school."
MEET Catherine Malanda
Catherine has been with Katundu from the very beginning. A year before joining our project, her husband passed away and left her with 6 children. As a single mom without any other source of income or savings, she was invited to join the initial Katundu team of women in 2006. Without any experience in beading or textiles she started by learning how to bead simple bed textiles. Today she is team-leader of our beading department and one of our most talented textile artisans, delivering the highest quality of handwork. Working among fellow women and single mothers has given Catherine the support to improve her families living conditions, create friendships and share laughter.
Over the years with Katundu Catherine used her income to put her 6 children through school, provide nutritious meals to her family and finish and improve her house. Her oldest son is now in the Malawi Defence Force and her daughter has managed to start a small business here on the island. Three of her children are still in school and are supported by the Katundu education program.
Catherine also benefited from our health program, and she was supported to visit a private clinic when she was having problems with her eye-sight. She hopes that the Katundu workshop will keep growing in order to support her family and more women around the Likoma community.
Our permanent team at Katundu exists of 30 artisans of which more than 75% are women.
Additionally we provide work to over 75 piece workers in the surrounding community. This ranges from making our maize and baobab string, to clay beads or joining our team when production allows.
Direct and Indirect
Each artisan and pieceworker supported by Katundu in their turn supports a larger network of children, grandparents, nephews and neighbours. The average number of dependables of each artisan at Katundu is more than 6 people!
Commitment to Education
On average our staff members have 3-4 children per family. We are supporting the education of our staff's children by covering secondary school fee's for all students. Currently 64 staff children are enrolled in schooling.
As a part of our ethical employment philosophy we assist all our staff members in case of medical emergencies. Furthermore we employ several women affected by HIV and support them in their treatments.
Besides using as many recycled materials as possible we also give back to the earth by planting tree's around the island. We have planted 1,400 tree's so far and are committed to planting more each year.