Disability is not and Inability: Buguta Disabled Group

Wildlife Works Partners with the Buguta Disabled Group

“Disability is not and Inability” is the motto of the Buguta Disable Group and they prove it to be true with every stitch they make while creating products that are sold to customers all over the world.

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Since 2011, Wildlife Works has been working with the Buguta Disabled Group, a group of 30 members who work to support eachother and their families, emotionally and financially. Membership is not limited to those who are disabled; family members of disabled people can also join, because as caretakers need just as much support!

wildlife works buguta disabled womens group

Lea Mvumba, known as Mama Lea in the community, the chairwoman, and her husband, Jacob, started the group in 2009. They had just moved to Buguta from Mombasa, where they were part of a similar group. She and her husband are both disabled and wheelchair bound, yet, in addition to creating crafts for the group, they have raised grown children, they garden and they raise chickens.

wildlife works buguta disabled womens group

Initially, the Buguta Disabled Group members focused solely on sewing. Since Wildlife Works and a Community Based Organization called Hadithi, started working with the group, they have expanded their product line to include baskets and beaded jewelry. For example, Wildlife Works buys the co-op’s small baskets to package our soaps.

 wildlife works buguta disabled womens group

Of the 30 members, eight now actively make baskets. Since Wildlife Works has started working with them, the co-op has received more visitors and they are making other products to meet demand. Recently, they started to create stuffed animals from fabric scraps from the Wildlife Works factory. They even make quilted Noah’s Arks, filled with miniature animals, stuffed with scraps from the Wildlife Works factory.

 wildlife works buguta disabled womens group

The biggest challenge the co-op has is marketing outside their local community. From January to May, their profits are low, because tourism is down. Some community members buy from them, but at a cheaper price and not in bulk. So, in addition to buying Buguta Disabled Group’s products, Wildlife Works also markets them to Kenyan retail shops, and connects them to international organisations wishing to source products from them.

wildlife works buguta disabled womens group

The co-op has recently acquired a plot of land, on which they would like to build a workshop and office so they can save money by not renting a workspace, and increase their creative capacity.

You can see more of the products they make here: http://shop.wildlifeworks.com/collections/gifts

If you are interested in buying or designing products at wholesale from the Buguta Disabled group, please email fashion@wildlifeworks.com

We hope to see the Buguta Disabled Group expand and grow in the coming years!

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