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Tintsaba: About the Makers

Makers Snapshot

Location: Northern Hhohho, Eswatini/Swaziland
Established: 1985
Founder: Sheila Freemantle
Number of Workers: Trained and worked with over 1400 women since it began
Products: Jewellery and baskets
Materials: Sisal, sterling silver
Values: Fair Trade, empowering women, supporting artisans in rural areas, sustainability, handmade

About Tintsaba

Tintsaba (Tints-sarba), which means "mountains" in the local language of Piggs Peak, Eswatini, is a social enterprise that specialises in world renowned hand-crafted baskets and jewellery made from sisal. The organisation was founded in 1985 with the goal to help the local women in rural Eswatini/Swaziland to achieve financial independence. Since it began, Tintsaba has worked with and trained over 1400 women.

Tintsaba has always had a holistic approach to women's empowerment, fostering growth in the women's careers while also providing opportunities for capacity building. They run workshops and courses on a number of topics including leadership, skill-set development, literacy, sustainability and women's health. Through learning these skills and earning their own income, the women and their families are able to escape the cycle of poverty.

The Material - Sisal

Sisal is a species of the agave plant that is native to Mexico. It is considered an invasive weed in Eswatini/Swaziland and has a negative ecological impact on the land. By using sisal to weave their baskets and jewellery, the Tintsaba artisans help to preserve native flora. Sisal grows abundantly throughout the region, therefore it is a reliable resource that can be sourced locally, enabling the women to earn an income from home.

The Technique