"Every single penny we raise goes straight back to the community – paying wages, funding education, training and health insurance."

- Muhoroni People's Foundation (UK registered charity no 1206194)

We have been providing sponsorship to the Muhoroni People’s Foundation in Kenya for a few years.

Recently, they shared an update with us along with lots of photographs to really help us see how our money is making a difference. Read on to hear how this foundation is genuinely improving the prospects of women and children…

Life in Muhoroni in western Kenya

Muhoroni is a small rural township in western Kenya, with very few employment opportunities. Families mostly live in slum dwellings with mud floors, a tin roof, a single mattress for the whole family, a firepit and a cooking pot. Outdoor toilets are very basic and a single loo is shared between all families of the street – up to 20. Water is still fetched from the river or bought from water tankers that visit the area.

Most homes don’t have electricity. Those that do often only have a single bulb and one power socket.

Life for most families is a struggle. Education and healthcare are expensive – resulting in a lack of schooling, and a high early death rate. This is mostly due to living conditions and the lack of proper sanitation. HIV is prevalent.

Women are particularly vulnerable in this community – many are widows or single parents, struggling to feed their children, pay rent and buy food. Despite their struggles, they are resilient and resourceful. They fight for every opportunity to earn money to feed their children, to educate them and to give them a better future.

Group Of People In Kenya

The charity’s work

Five years ago, founder, Maxine McCaughey, visited Muhoroni and was inspired to help change the cycle of poverty, ill-health and lack of education.

The Muhoroni People’s Foundation began by training a small group of women to weave sisal (a local hedgerow plant) into colourful baskets in every hue, often using locally foraged earth and tree bark to create environmentally friendly dyes.

The project now benefits 25 women and their families, providing a safe working environment in exchange for a comparable wage. They also enjoy the mutual support of other women – workshop days are spent chatting, putting the world to rights, and yes, there’s lots of laughter, too!

Group Of Women With Their Baskets

The foundation also raise funds to run the charity by bringing their sisal baskets back to the UK, to sell at markets around the country, from London to Norfolk to Newcastle and beyond.

The baskets range in size from tiny pen and cotton bud holders, to handbags with beautifully designed bag charms, to our largest shopping bags with handles. There is something for everyone – for the home, for shopping outings, as gifts. Recently, the range has even expanded to include wine holders, woven place mats, wall decorations, beautiful sisal angels, Easter chicks, a range of Christmas tree ornaments – in every colour and pattern the women of Muhoroni can dream up.

Women With Woven Basket

Education and health support

Many of the women the Muhoroni People’s Foundation support have little or no formal education. They are trying to change this statistic for their children and future generations.

The charity currently supports 54 children, ranging from nursery school, to university students. They provide health insurance for all their basket-weaving women and their families. Malaria is rife, for instance, so providing medical care gives them a literal lifeline. And when specialised treatment is needed, for example x-rays for pneumonia, babies born with club foot or a cleft palate, we pay for it with funds from our basket sales.

Therefore, selling the beautiful woven baskets that the women of Muhoroni have made is essential to our work – and every single penny they raise goes straight back to the community. This includes paying wages, funding education and training and providing health insurance.

Children With Calculators

The future

The Muhoroni People’s Foundation is still a small-scale operation, but they hope to transform the lives of many more families by expanding the skills training that they offer, so that more local people have the tools to find jobs and support themselves.

Recently, they bought a sewing machine and are offering training with the support of a local seamstress. They are also hoping to provide training in leatherwork and shoe repairs, by placing an apprentice with the local shoemaker, as well as expand training opportunities further, by buying laptops and providing training in IT skills.

Group With Maxine

Follow the Muhoroni People's Fund.

We are really proud to contribute to the Muhoroni People’s Foundation. Do follow their Instagram account @muhoroni_peoples_fund to see more photos of the beautiful baskets and the amazing group of women who make them. We are also anticipating news of a new Ebay shop soon too.

If you would like to buy one of the baskets or support the foundation with a donation too, get in touch via Instagram messages or visit their website.


Sponsoring the Muhoroni People’s Foundation

Published on
Written by Gill Smith, Director