We are so pleased to introduce beautiful printed head wraps for kids from Uganda to the CultureBaby line-up. These wraps come to us from Tukula, a social enterprise empowering Ugandan entrepreneurs. Meaning "we grow" in the local Lugandan language, the company strives to provide a living wage, positive and nurturing work environment and international marketplace for the women of the organization.
We took some time to speak with Melissa Terranova, co-founder and director of this inspiring project, to find out more about the company and the women that make it tick!
Tell us about the fabric your artisans use to make the headbands? Is it a traditional Ugandan print?
The fabric that is used on the kid wraps is made out of a Dutch Waxprint called kitenge. It is very popular in East Africa. The beauty of kitenge is that it is known as a textile that tells stories. This can be achieved through color, shapes and patterns. The kitenge can represent a cultural background, a social position, or just a mood or feeling. You will often see women in uganda wearing it head to toe, to carry there babie's on their back, or to wrap around their waste when doing chores at home (like an apron).
Many of your artisans are mothers themselves. How do you think their role's as mothers affect their designs?
Recently we have started designing items for kids/babies and the ladies of put a lot of their parenting experiences into the designs. They like to test out all the items on their children and give us helpful suggestions on what has worked best for them which makes our products designed specifically with mother's in mind.
What do you think American mothers and American kids should know about Uganda?
Uganda is knownas the Pearl of Africa because it is so beautiful. The women of tukula live in a town called Jinja, where you will find the Source of the Nile River. Mother's in Uganda go to great lengths to care for their families. They wake up bright and early to tend to the family's garden where they get their food. They make all meals from scratch on a charcoal stove. They fetch water from a source that might be miles and miles away - which they have to walk to and usually will carry a jug of water in each hand and one on their head. Mother's will often do all of this with a baby tied to their backs. Kids in Uganda love to play and since they are unable to buy toys are don't have access to them in the villages they usually make their own! They make dolls out of banana leaves, cars out of bent wire, and they will turn anything into a soccer ball - like plastic bags held together by cloth or banana leaves. Life is very hard in Uganda but still full of so much beauty and joy.