CRAFT & DESIGN
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."
Words: MINZUU Photos: Quazi Design