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Fairtrade Handknit Toys

In the beautiful foothills on the western wall of Kenya's magnificent Great Rift Valley, lies the tranquil farming community of Njoro. There, a group of Kenyan women buy homespun yarn, which they wash, moth proof and hand knit into wonderful stuffed animals and accessories. In 1998, Kenana Knitters was formed with the aim of giving much needed income to the local people - in particular the women of Njoro. Wool is bought on a weekly basis from over 250 spinners. The yarn comes in various shades of cream, brown and gray - just like the multi colored local sheep that produce the wool. Pure vegetable dyes, obtained from the roots, flowers and leaves of local plants are sometimes used to color the yarn. Funds generated by the Kenana Knitters group have been used to create a work area and office facilities. The group ethos is to expand the knowledge base and skills of all who are involved. The purchase of newspapers, a radio, and contributions for the library are benefits derived from their industry. Voluntary counseling and testing for AIDS, monthly family planning services and saving schemes are available to all. There is a flourishing computer training scheme and many women are taking advantage of this opportunity to learn typing and keyboard skills. More recently a schoolroom has been built and the project is in search of a teacher.

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