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Spring converting into Summertime 2023 is finally here, and what better way to celebrate the new season than with some vibrant and handmade baskets from Africa? Gitzell FairTrade International has just launched a new collection of colorful baskets that are perfect for any occasion.

Zelli, the founder of Gitzell FairTrade, has been working with artisans from several African countries since 1998. She was inspired to create Gitzell FairTrade when she came to the US to attend college and brought a suitcase full of souvenirs that she had been gifted by her nieces in Africa. She showcased the artwork at both craft fairs and festivals and saw the potential for empowering artists and supporting local communities.

Since then, Zelli has been working with over 220 families and communities to create ethical, high-quality products. Gitzell FairTrade International has a mission to empower communities through fair trade practices by providing fair wages, safe working conditions, and access to education and healthcare.

The new collection of handmade baskets from Africa is a testament to the incredible skill and creativity of these artisans. Each piece is unique, with vibrant patterns and colors that are perfect for spring and summer. Whether you're looking for a colorful market basket or a stylish shoulder bag, Gitzell FairTrade has something for everyone.

And it's not just about the beautiful designs. When you purchase a basket from Gitzell FairTrade International, you're supporting a larger mission. You're providing artisans with the opportunity to make a living wage and support their families. You're helping to promote fair trade practices that make a positive impact on the environment and local communities. And you're investing in a more sustainable and ethical global marketplace.

Check out our reels on facebook and see how our handpicked artisants enjoy crafting this just for you to enjoy their taste of art. SAMPLE FACEBOOK REAL "It was incredible to go and visit the women who make the baskets that we sell. Our founder sat and hand-made these baskets with them and she said that their skill and speed was incredible! Truly masters of their craft."

So why not add a handmade basket from Africa to your collection this spring and summer? You'll not only be supporting an incredible mission but also adding a beautiful and unique piece to your home or wardrobe. Check out the new collection from Gitzell FairTrade International today and support fair trade practices that empower and uplift communities.


Empowering Women Artisans by Gitzell FairTrade

Sisal is a natural fiber extracted from the Agave sisalana plant, primarily grown in Kenya and other parts of East Africa. This hardy succulent thrives in arid and semi-arid areas, making it an important crop in Kenya for providing income to farmers and creating employment opportunities in rural areas. The sisal plant has been grown in Kenya for many years, and it has become an integral part of the Kenyan economy.

Sisal bags, known as Kiondo Kenya bags, are handwoven using traditional techniques and natural materials such as sisal and sheep wool. These bags have gained popularity worldwide due to their exquisite craftsmanship and cultural significance. The intricate weaving process is a skill that has been passed down through generations of Kenyan weavers, and each bag is a unique piece of art.

However, harvesting and finding sisal can be challenging due to the harsh growing conditions and intensive labor required. The sisal leaves must be carefully harvested and processed to extract the fibers, which are then sorted, cleaned, and spun into strong threads. The threads are then woven by hand into beautiful and durable bags, using techniques that have been perfected over generations.

Zellipah, the founder of Gitzell FairTrade, is a skilled artisan from Kenya who has dedicated her life to preserving the traditional craft of sisal bag weaving. She not only aims to preserve the craft but also to empower women in her community through fair trade practices. Through Gitzell FairTrade, Zellipah has created a platform for women weavers to showcase their craftsmanship and earn a fair wage for their work.


By purchasing a sisal bag from Gitzell FairTrade, you are not only supporting a small business but also preserving a unique African tradition and empowering women in Kenya. The hard work of Kenyan farmers and artisans, like Zellipah, has helped to keep this valuable natural material in use and to showcase its versatility and cultural significance to the world.

These handcrafted sisal bags are not only beautiful and functional but also carry a rich cultural significance. They come in various sizes and designs, making them versatile accessories for any occasion. Whether you need a stylish tote for a day at the beach or a chic clutch for a night out, there is a Kiondo Kenya bag that will suit your needs.

Some handmade items that can be made from sisal include:

  1. Bags: Sisal bags, also known as Kiondo Kenya bags, are one of the most popular items made from sisal. These bags are handwoven using traditional techniques and come in various sizes and designs.

  2. Rugs and mats: Sisal fibers can be woven into mats and rugs, which are durable and great for high-traffic areas.

  3. Baskets: Sisal can be woven into baskets, which can be used for storage, decoration, or even as planters.

  4. Wall hangings: Sisal fibers can be used to create beautiful wall hangings, which can be used to add texture and dimension to any room.

  5. Decorative items: Sisal can also be used to create decorative items such as coasters, placemats, and even Christmas ornaments.

You can purchase some of these stunning products directly from the Gitzell FairTrade website or through select retailers. By choosing to buy from Gitzell FairTrade, you are making a positive impact on the lives of the Kenyan women weavers and their families, while also promoting sustainable and ethical consumer practices.

To learn more about Gitzell FairTrade and their mission to promote sustainable, eco-friendly fashion while empowering women in Kenya, follow their Facebook page. Join the movement and make a difference in the lives of these talented artisans and their families.

See more of our handmade from Kenya


Updated: Nov 28, 2022

Zellipah initiated the idea of Gitzell Fairtrade in 1998 when she came to the US to attend college and brought a suitcase full of souvenirs that she had had been gifted by her nieces in Africa. She came to the US to attend college and started showcasing her souvenirs to teachers and students which led to eventually selling the souvenirs at a cultural exchange activity at the university. Following the success at the university, Zellipah began Gitzell FairTrade and showcased the artwork at both craft fairs and festivals. Zellipah continued working with artisans from several African countries and supporting over 220 families. The increasing sales at the craft fairs and festivals eventually led her to begin selling wholesale. Gitzell FairTrade is a member of Fair Trade Federation

Zellipah’s experience with making baskets goes back to childhood. She was born in Kenya and is part of a large family with 9 children on her mother’s side and 17 children on her father’ side. The inspiration for Gitzell FairTrade really stems from her mother’s work with knitting and weaving baskets. She learned how to make sisal baskets even before learning to read and write. She would then help her mother with selling both baskets and farming produce at the local market near the health center. The family had a fence lined with the sisal cactus that provided readily available raw materials for basket weaving and also served as a protection and privacy fence.


Aside from Gitzell FairTrade:

Zellipah has taken the initiative to launch Project Gold finger during Kenya’s worst drought in 60 years. She launched this project with 16 ladies in her hometown of Ngorano, Nyeri. This grew to supporting over 100 families. The goal of the project is better crop production through education and training. The main focus is on proper seed selection and growing methods. The Gold finger name stems from the notion that these women’s fingers can produce “gold” and earn income with the proper tools and resources. The mission of Project Goldfinger is to improve the livelihood of rural women through various community projects.

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