Top-shop, despite its name, does not have anything to do with the fast fashion chain so famous in the UK, in fact their values couldn't be more different. They are a family run business, operating since 1985...that's amazing.
They started off as a leather work-shop, and quickly transformed into a fashion manufacturer. They later began to add various arts, crafts, jewelry, printed T-shirts, and more, all made locally, supporting the local economy in the process.
The Women's Initiative is an amazing organization founded and ran by the beautiful Isatou Ceesay.
This incredible woman began empowering other women in 1997. She gave and continues to give them motivation to succeed and skills to better their lives whilst creating unique products from waste materials. From purses, keyrings, baskets & skipping ropes made from plastic bags, to compost bins & tables/chairs made from recycled tyres. We are so impressed with the variety of amazing products, all upcycled from what was once worthless waste into unique treasures!
They impressed us so much, the first Growing A Green Gambia raised money for them...8000GMD to be exact!
Ousman is one of the last master weavers in Gambia! And he makes some truly amazing things. Bags, belts, scarfs, clothing, you name it, he can make it. And it's all done on a handmade, very Gambian, loom, it's fantastic.
Ousman is not content making his products. He is actively involved in an amazing project that is trying to revive the once-thriving Gambian cotton industry. The Gambia Cotton Trail...the experts in seed to product production, how cool is that!
Their voice must be heard is a non-profit organization founded by a group of young people in kartong, Gambia. Their mission is to create a platform for the voiceless to increase their participation in society and empower their voice in decision-making.
Working through immediate action and education, the GMECI offers hands-on experience with environmental and marine conservation opportunities, activism, and education - hosting workshops, beach cleanups, community meetups, and more.
At the event, their natural tye-dye workshop was a hit with children and adults alike. Many of our friends did their own t-shirts made using a variety of natural dyes such as onion and carrot.
Since 2016 Green Up Gambia has been engaged in climate change mitigation and adaptation in rural villages - raising eco-consciousness in communities especially amongst young people. They focus on deforestation and land degradation, sustainable climate-smart farming practices, waste management, and government accountability, protecting natural resources, and tree planting.