VAZI: Black Storage Basket by The Basket Room
The craftswomen who produce these black storage baskets actually use them in their own homes in Tanzania for keeping things like maize, potatoes and onions dry. The baskets are also used for carrying gifts to weddings, and are often used in trade. Elsewhere in the world they’re used as woven planters, and they made stylish storage for all manner of household clutter.
VAZI was produced by a skilled weaver working in a cooperative of around 580 members. These ethical baskets are woven from milulu grass found in swamps and riverbeds, though many cooperatives grow their own reeds specifically for basket weaving.
Basket weaving provides women and their families with a vital additional income during the dry seasons, since most weavers are primarily farmers. Weavers earn a fair wage for each basket they produce, and this money helps pay children’s school fees and family medical bills. These earnings are also used for home improvements and investing in land, livestock and poultry.
Profits from basket sales are reinvested so that communities can purchase solar lighting and kerosene lamps for working late, as well as new land and warehouses for making and storing baskets in. The cooperative committee leaders also organise frequent product development training as well as healthcare education.