Over the years, we’ve given much-needed loans to some of our small suppliers so they can build workshops and buy tools and machinery to grow their businesses.
In 2016 we gave a loan to the owner of our belt supplier in Kenya, so he could expand his business and build a work shop. Before they were working on tables under trees so it was impossible to work in wet conditions. This has made a big difference to his business as he is now able to take on larger orders.
We provided our Kenyan sandal supplier with with a loan to enable her to buy an expensive piece of equipment to cut the soles of the sandals.Previously these had to be cut individually by hand. Not only has this saved time but it has also allowed the company to take on much larger orders from both ourselves and other companies. In 2019 we also helped fund a lifesaving operation for her newborn child.
Aspiga especially loves to work with and support women. Our main sandal supplier is a woman who set up her business 10 years ago when she was just 23 years old. She has worked with us ever since.
Many of our suppliers’ female workers do piecemeal work in their own homes, so they can look after the young children while earning.
THE ASPIGA BEACH CLEAN UP
Our beach clean was set up in 2019, it takes place once a month with the help of 12 young volunteers. For every pair of Kenyan sandals sold, we pledged to collect at least one full basket of waste from the beach. In return, we pay for their annual school fees.
We are proud that this initiative won an award from the Cabana show in the USA.
We unfortunately had to put our beach clean-up on hold during the pandemic as Kenya went into a lockdown. We are pleased to say that it has started back up again and with the help of the local community in Kenya, we collected over 1.5 tonnes of plastic in 2020, which has all been taken to the recycling plant in Watamu.
British Asian Trust: Oxygen for India Emergency AppealOn the 1st & 2nd of May 2021, we donated 10% of our profits from ALL online orders placed to the 'Oxygen for India Emergency Appeal' by the British Asian Trust to help get as many oxygen concentrators to hospitals as quickly as possible.
WaterHarvest is a not-for-profit organisation that works with rural communities in India to help them build rainwater harvest structures, so they can collect, filter and store clean water at home all year round. Because everyone deserves access to a sustainable source of clean water, since 2020, we’ve pledged to contribute a portion of our sales to provide life-saving water tanks to the most deprived communities in Delhi and Jaipur.
For every non-organic cotton garment sold, we have donated £1 to WaterHarvest, so far we have donated £2229. This means for every t-shirt sold, one family in India will be provided with clean water for a week. These tanks known as 'Taankas' collect rainwater and provide families with year round clean water at their doorstep. These tanks save lives and with your support, we can help these forgotten families take their first step out of poverty.
Both our founder Lucy, and Aspiga proudly give a small donation of £5 every month to Loving Humanity; a non-profit organisation created to support refugees and now the health and wellbeing of girls and women.
Loving Humanity provides, at cost, ready-to-ship micro-factories that produce washable and disposable sanitary products to those in need. By providing sanitary products they are restoring personal dignity where it’s been lost—in war zones, refugee camps and slums.Their factories are staffed by refugee or vulnerable local women who, through their work, find or rediscover their self-worth.
Every £5 donated helps to keep 10 girls in education, transforming their lives and helping them to learn, work and live with dignity!
ELIMU SEWING PROJECT
The working world for women is harder in remote communities. Since 2020 we have partnered with Elimu Sewing Project who make our gorgeous fabric sandal bags for our Kenyan sandals. The Project helps young women from vulnerable backgrounds in rural Kenya pursue a two-year training program that gives them a sewing trade and income-generating skills.
WORLD WILDLIFE FOUNDATION
In 2020, we donated ALL profits from our ‘Box of Dinosaur Socks’ to the WWF (World Wildlife Fund) to help protect endangered species.
We donated £4,000 to Bluebells School in Kenya in 2020 to help pay for teachers’ salaries who have not been paid since March 2020 due to the pandemic, to ensure the school can return to normal asap and the teachers don’t leave looking for work.
BLACK LIVES MATTER
On the 25th May 2020, we were horrified to learn that George Floyd was suffocated by a member of the police force in Minneapolis. Sadly his death was demonstrative of a much wider global issue of systematic racism. As a fair trade fashion brand, we do not tolerate prejudice and inequality and we always try to support marginalised communities.
We donated 5% of our online profits on the 2nd of June to three Black Lives Matters Charities; Black Lives Matter Global Network, The Bail Project and the NAACP.
Opened in 2014, located in Gilgil, Kenya, Restart Africa is now home to over a hundred children, most of whom have experienced severe trauma and violence in their early lives.
On trips to Kenya, Lucy takes up to seven suitcases of clothing each time for a local orphanage. She has also volunteered at the orphanage to teach art and reading.
The Centre is entirely funded by donations. It gives the children an education and a safe and healthy environment to grow and flourish in.
In Kenya education is not free so Restart pays all the children’s school fees. Some of Aspiga’s sandals and jewellery, are made by the Santana Women’s Group. All of the profits from the Group go directly to The Restart Centre.
If you are interested in hearing more about the Centre, volunteering or sponsoring a child you can find out more information at www.restartafrica.org/get-involved/
NHS CHARITIES TOGETHER: COVID 19 APPEAL
For the month of April 2020, we donated the profits from three of our items to the Joint NHS Charities Together: Covid 19 Appeal, raising £3,500.
This charity was is set up to provide support and help, to all the amazing workers in the NHS and those wonderful people who have volunteered during these terrible times.
USING OUR VOICE FOR CHANGE
We share advice and tips to help our customers to live more sustainably. These are published via emails, blogs, brochures, flyers and on Instagram.
We also publish a quarterly flyer called Aspiga Loves (that gets sent out with all orders), which contains two to four pages of sustainability tips
Our founder, Lucy, interviewed celebrities/influencers on the Aspiga Instagram to share how they have adopted more sustainable lifestyles. Each month this will be made into a blog post.
We donated 10% of profits from all our Alpine jumpers and Happy T-shirts sold in December 2020 and January 2021 to Crisis.
Crisis supports thousands of homeless people, this year they will be securing housing in hotels and student accommodation as well as organising hubs for food, clothing and gifts.