What is Compassionate Capitalism?

uganda fair trade product company

Harkiss Designs is a social enterprise, a new breed of business with a mission. Don’t confuse a social enterprise with a social networking business. While we do connect with you via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, our ultimate goals are more far reaching. As a social enterprise, Harkiss Designs seeks to use capitalism compassionately as a tool […]

Storytelling Weaves the Fabric of East African Cultures

african weave basket

Folklore, oral history and storytelling are inextricably woven into the fiber of East African life. Even though Africa does have an ancient written tradition, most communities pass their cultural knowledge and history from generation to generation orally. Storytelling was a way of life as I was growing up in Uganda. Elders tell stories that explain […]

How Basket Making Reflects East African Cultural Values: Part 2


For the artisans of Harkiss Designs, the process of harvesting and preparing materials, dyeing the fibers and creating traditional baskets is more than just a way to earn a living. The growing basket weaving industry in Uganda and other East African nations is the embodiment of traditional values. Basketry in East Africa reflects a deeply […]

Harkiss Designs Baskets: Weaving Tradition into a Better Future (Part 1)

          The handcrafted baskets of East African women are a mainstay of the cultures of Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania. They are also the foundation of the Harkiss Designs collection. The different profiles, designs and techniques that distinguish our basket lines are part of a rich, multigenerational tradition unique to specific […]

Lend a Hand Uganda part II – Sponsoring Household Sustainability

africa chicken project

Lend a Hand Uganda (LAHU) supports programs that improve the lives of orphans and vulnerable children, their homes and communities. Key projects include vegetable gardens that add important nutrition to the children’s daily diets. Those who benefit from the gardens contribute to planting, maintenance and harvesting. LAHU volunteers from around the globe assist residents in establishing and […]

Lend a Hand Uganda Reaches Out to Vulnerable Children


In Uganda, an estimated 15 per cent of children younger than 18 years old are orphaned. Many have become parents to their siblings, often with limited assistance from their kin. Given the large number of orphaned children, an “orphanage industry” has emerged. Even though the Government’s Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) policy outlines regulations for […]

East African Community Workshops Are Far Different from Industrial Factories (Part 2)


Unlike the production-line type approach in big factories, each African artisan sees production through from start to finish. This provides them with a sense of ownership and responsibility that enriches the quality of each piece. To consumers, it translates to a higher cost per item but an exponential increase in value. The machine-made novelty items […]

East African Community Workshops Are Far Different from Industrial Factories (Part 1)

The East African economy is rooted in agriculture. However, the majority of people depend on subsistence agriculture based on minimal use of off-farm inputs. Although well-managed subsistence agriculture is sustainable in the long term, it has kept East African economies small and insular in comparison to huge economies like China’s that benefit from highly industrialized […]

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