Our Creative Community
At Wazi Shoes, we believe that supporting local economies and fundis (Swahili for worker) in Tanzania is as essential as our give-back mission. By providing long term, appropriately-paid employment, Tanzanians and their communities benefit.
Wazis Shoes were first designed by and for Tanzanian women. We have built strong relationships with the 120 shoe fundis who make each pair of Wazi Shoes by hand, with time-honored techniques and bead work that ties tradition to modern style. While we strive to use locally sourced material from our packaging to our shoes, we have not met our target to be 100% locally sourced. As the business grows, we hope to be able to drive demand for more locally sourced material so we attain our goal.
In addition to the shoe fundis who produce Wazi Shoes, we have selected supportive organizations to create our packaging. Our shoe boxes are made from recycled cardboard and protect the bead work in transit, and the travel shoe bags that come with each pair of Wazi Shoes keep your clothes clean when you throw your Wazis in a suitcase.
BEADWORK and leather
The beadwork is the most time intensive piece of shoe making. For example, one of the many beaded flower in the style Lovebird takes two hours to create, with each pair of Lovebird beading taking around twelve hours. The finishing process of making the sole and affixing beads takes an additional two hours.
The most supple leather is used for the thong piece for the most comfortable fit.
MUFINDI VOCATIONAL TRAINING PROJECT
Our unique shoe bags are made from the local fabric, kitenge, traditionally worn by women in Tanzania. Wazi Shoes is proud to support Mufindi Orphans Vocational Training project by using their sewing school to produce our Wazi Shoes bags. Vocational students gain experience, are paid for their work, and Wazi Shoes has high-quality, locally produced shoe bags - a win-win situation for Wazi Shoes and the Mufindi project.
Our shoe boxes are made by AfriCraft from recycled cardboard. AfriCraft supports domestic handicraft production, to contribute to the improvement of the quality of hand made products. AfriCraft fundis shred used cardboard and create a mulch that is then repurposed into our shoe boxes. Each box takes two days to create from start to finish.