Our bright, bold, beautiful Bushbells collection began in 2009 as a modest attempt to support a small coastal community we care about. Mother and daughter team who are third generation East African born/bred, saw an opportunity to help fundraise for a small village school, as well as help their friend Sammy (one magnificent tailor) who had been widowed with three young children to support.
Taking inspiration from the colourful coastal kikoy colours, and harnessing Sammy’s expertise to create beautiful clothes, we took pot luck at selling them in the UK. Demand exceeded all expectations… and so, Bushbells was born! The first school we built - our namesake - Bushbells, was completed in 2014.
We're now over half way through building a sister school: Bluebells. Today, profits from all our sales create the necessary funds for our various educational projects.
Your Bushbells purchase today helps...
... Sammy and our tailors
So skilled, loyal and ever smiling, Sammy and his team of girls (Lilian, Ruth and Rehema) love what they do. The ongoing and regular work that Bushbells generates creates essential stability for them and their families in an area of high unemployment. Bushbells has also been able to support the education of their children. We're proud to say we know who made your clothes, and the reality is that every time a customer like you purchases one of our products, you are ensuring continued employment for this dynamic team of tailors!
... build classrooms
Profits from our sales enable us to build classrooms. The first school we built (called Bushbells) was completed at the end of 2014, and our second is 'sister' school - Bluebells, is now half way through it's development.
... buy essential books
Books keep the pupils on target with the national curriculum, and they continuously need updating. The children all love to read. Every year some of our funding plus kind donations, help us buy even more books for the school. It's the only resource they have to keep their teaching on track and current.
... provide bursaries
Funding from your purchases enables us to pay for the education of 11 children every year at the school. They are chosen by Mwana, our principal, and they are often orphaned and come from the poorest circumstances. They all just love their school days where they flourish and are cared for and love their learning too.
... provide a vital daily meal
Each year we’ve been able to fund a vital daily mug of posho at the Breakfast Club, which provides essential nutrition, and encourages attendance levels at school. Project Tomato (and now passion fruit too!) are also grown on the plot, and proceeds from these sales generate further income for the school.View the video
... secure a future for our bead and leather workers
As a family, we've known Enoch for over 25 years. His leather work shop was completely rebuilt in 2016, thanks to Bushbells funding. Now on a permanent site, Enoch has been able to expand his small leather works and repair business. He loves that his shop is now secure and dry and he's able to offer employment to his little community.View the video
Our aim is to continue to invest and improve our products and product range and importantly invest in our team who make them for us and for you. We know our whole team. We know #who make your clothes, key rings, bags and belts. We know their families.We've seen their children grow up. It's this personal care and investment in them as individuals that make us a little different. We're not about mass production and vast profits. We're the slowly slowly brigade that has real soul! We're all on this journey together - so thank you for sharing and participating in our journey. ENJOY the colour and joy that a Bushbells' product brings, and know the good you are doing others. Making the future brighter, one colourful kikoy or bead at a time!
Bushbells really IS a purchase with a purpose! Thank you for your support.
Bushbells was a 2019 finalist at the ‘Be The Change’ Awards - recognising ethical & sustainable brands with a powerful story to tell.