In Swaziland, the smallest country in the southern hemisphere, a group of women have formed a communal working space where they craft, create, and sell the items they make to various parts of the world.
In doing so, they cultivate a community of love and care.
These are the artisans of Quazi Design, a socially-driven design studio housing its workshop on the outskirts of Mbabane, the capital of Swaziland.
Their works, from colorful bib necklaces made with magazine paper, to oversized bowls sculpted from paper pulps, have been selected for numerous fashion shows and magazine features, including the Bushfire runway show of Swazi designers, and the world-renowned Elle Decor.
"I wanted to create employment and use my design background to make positive social change."
- Doron Shaltiel
According to its founder Doron Shaltiel, Quazi Design's value comes from the positive impact it brings on local communities. "Our vision is for craft to create a positive social change", says Doron, whose background draws from an amalgamation of European and African culture and a theater design degree before starting her own venture.
In a country where over 30% of the population are unemployed, Quazi Design provides full time employment to female artisans.
All of their artisans are mothers. Most of them were previously unemployed. And on average, each one of them have 7 dependents.
Doron describes it as a "humbling experience" to see artisans gaining economic freedom. She has witnessed a definite change in their lives from the recognition of their own competence.
"They are allowed to say no, to make a decision, to have a career… that feeling of being allowed to do something they want to do - they were never asked what they wanted to do, but now, they are given a voice."