We're Directors Mette Islandi from Denmark and Ssanyu Kalibbala from Uganda. We live in Zimbabwe and Uganda and both believe passionately that, in a country where over 60% of young people are unemployed, creating work is more powerful and sustainable than charity. We established Kampala Fair as a way to provide real jobs that give people decent working conditions, skills, a sense of pride in their work to ensure they give themselves and their families a secure future.
Kampala Fair is a long-term, sustainable and profitable fair trade business that provides employment opportunities to Ugandans, has good and long-term relationships with international buyers - and a strong brand and reputation that reflects positively on Africa.
Kampala Fair now has its own shop in Kampala, exports to East Africa and Europe - and employs 9 women and 5 men, who between them are sending 42 children to school and thus investing in their futures. You can read more of their stories below.
If you want to know more about our philosophy at Kampala Fair, stop by the FAQ. Otherwise browse through our shop to see all the beautiful things we have to offer – we're sure you'll see something you love.
With our good wishes from Kampala!
Mette & Ssanyu
Meet some of our staff:
I’ve lived in Kampala for five years; I come from Tororo but I had to look for work. I didn’t have much education but I had the brain to come to Kampala! Before, I wanted to stay at school, but my father died when I was 16 and I had to look after my mother. I had my daughter when I was eighteen, but her father was killed in a car accident, then I was also looking after my niece when my sister died.
Working here is very, very good because the work is good, there is no pressure and the payment is good too. For the future, I want to build my mum a house, and I also want to get my daughters educated. My niece is called Akwarea Mary. She’s eight now, and says she wants to study until she becomes a doctor. My daughter Aoma Sandra Is six and she wants to be a lawyer so she can decide who is bad and who is good! I tell them to pray for me that I can keep working and support their dreams.
For myself, I feel good about Kampala Fair, because fair means pretty and it also means fair to the people who work here. As long as Kampala Fair is here I am here too – I am very happy to be working here.
When I was growing up in eastern Uganda Pallis, I wanted to be someone big in Government, to become an MP, but I left school when I became pregnant. My boyfriend deceived and mistreated me, so I came to Kampala with my two children to find work. My girl is now 12 and my boy is 9 – I can pay for their school fees with the money I earn at Kampala Fair. The work is interesting; I could sew a little before (I made baby bootees), but I have learned many more sewing techniques since I worked here, and the salary is better than what I could earn before. I enjoy working here so much: my colleagues are good people, they have good characters and are approachable, the boss treats us really well.
As well as their schooling, I have now bought a small piece of land in my village to do some small farming. My daughter Anita wants to be a nurse and my son Jonathan wants to be a pilot! Now I am secure, I hope I can help them realize their dreams. As for me, I am building up some capital and want to open a small shop where I live. Who knows, maybe one day I can be a businesswoman too, and then I may even go to be an MP after all!
It’s so good that now there is the internet so that people can find us: it’s like having a signpost to direct people to the products we make! I would say to people that our clothes and our rugs are good and a good price, our bosses are good people, please promote Kampala Fair for us!
I came to Kampala Fair through knowing someone here. I was working as a cook before but changed to Kampala Fair because I could have more time with my children and more time to be in my house and I could sustain us with the money from the rugs. I have three children myself plus an orphan from my late sister: Bo 22, James 19, Charles 7 and my nephew Pascal is 17. I live without a husband.
When I started making the rugs, I had time to do things at home because I could work from home. I have also done a lot of work on my house: put in doors, electricity, a fence, and I have paid school fees and bought good clothes and food for my children.
I am happy working at Kampala Fair because I have good skills – I didn’t know how to make rugs and they taught me, I didn’t know how to use a sewing machine and they taught me. I work from home but I am paid well and my work is more flexible.
My family was very bad: my dad beat my mum, drank a lot, took another wife – it was very hard and my mum was suffering a lot.
After I sat my P7 exams, I came from Mbarara in western Uganda to work as a maid in Kampala, but the people didn’t pay me; then I met a woman from my village who took
me to work at her house. Through her I came to Kampala Fair: I came once a week to learn how to sew, then two days a week, then after a year I came to work here full time.
Now my mum is so proud of me. I have built her a house so she can live away from my dad, and I send food to her and my sister. Also I can pay for my sister’s school fees – she
is 14 and now in Senior Grade 2. And this year I got married!
Kampala Fair has changed everything for me and my family. We make good quality things from our local fabrics here. We know what we are doing and our things are perfect! The money is so good but also we really want to make something that is good and nice for people to love. I am happy to be a tailor, and happy to work for Kampala Fair.
My favourite part of my job is cutting and showing the clothes. Kampala Fair is about strong design and craftsmanship. Our clothes are well made, they are striking and they last. It is worth buying from us.
Kampala Fair was started to help us, to get us work and make us a good living. So it is a good place to buy from!