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For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni
For other destinations and types of holiday, visit Kuoni 

Things to do in Tanzania

Visit Shanga, an inspiring social enterprise

We have two main missions: employ as many people with a disability as possible and make our products with recycled materials…

By Ruth Willatt
Marketing and Business Development Consultant at Shanga

Give back while you travel by visiting Shanga, a social enterprise that employs Tanzanians with disabilities to make gifts from recycled materials. Shanga is based at Arusha Coffee Lodge and became part of the Elewana Corporate Social Responsibility Program in 2017. We have two main missions: employ as many people with a disability as possible and make our products with recycled materials. Currently we employ 52 people, 35 of whom have some sort of disability, and in 2019 we saved up to 100 tonnes of waste from going to landfill.

The heart of our message is to be kind and recycle. Some of our staff have faced huge challenges because of their disabilities; many are deaf, have prosthetic limbs or are in a wheelchair so just getting an education and a job can be a mammoth task. Through word of mouth though, we get a lot of people come to us looking for work and when there’s a vacancy, we train applicants up to make everything from necklaces to shopping bags and glass vases.

We encourage people to visit the Shanga workshop while they’re in Arusha so they can learn about our work – it’s such a beautiful, welcoming place. Visits usually last at least an hour and start with a brief sign language session so you’re able to greet our team. We’ll take you through the workshop to each of our departments, which include weaving, beading, glass blowing and woodwork. Everything is made from recycled materials, be it wine bottles or shredded paper, we even use cooking oil to fire our furnaces.

There are lots of activities you can take part in too. Sit with a team and make a bracelet or shopping bag and try trickier tasks like weaving, Ting Tinga painting and glass blowing. Guests love the face-to-face interaction with our team and seeing how happy they are to work at Shanga. At the end of the tour, you can browse our gift shop. All the profit from sales goes straight back into Shanga and gives us the chance to employ more people with disabilities in Tanzania.

The main focus of our tour is to remove the stigma that people with disabilities often face. One of the best comments I ever received from a guest was that she didn’t notice anyone with a disability while touring the workshop – that means we’ve achieved our goal. We love to highlight our team’s capabilities and encourage them to reach for their wildest dreams. For example, one of our team, Masoud, has always wanted to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and with the help of an organisation called FAISR, we made that happen. In September 2020, he summited Kilimanjaro and we were all so proud.

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Alfred & Ruth Willatt

Ruth Willatt hails from Australia and has a varied background in business, marketing and textiles. She came to Shanga four years ago on an Australian Government volunteer program as a Business Development Consultant and Marketing Mentor for 18 months and never left. Sharing Shanga's mission and her team's amazing abilities is the highlight of her day.

Ruth Willatt, Shanga social enterprise

Alfred&

Your journey will start with one of our UK team – someone like Adele, who's travelled extensively in Tanzania. They’ll shape your ideas into the trip of a lifetime. But they won't do it on their own. They'll draw on the expertise of our contacts on the ground, connecting you to the people who'll make your holiday one you'll always remember - the rangers who'll ensure you'll spot the best wildlife, the village chiefs who'll give you a genuine insight into local life and the camp managers who can recommend the very best spot to enjoy your sundowner.

Freephone an expert 01306 744 656