Loreta Capistrano Rafisura Loreta Capistrano Rafisura founded Salay Handmade Paper Industries, Inc. with her husband in 1990 in response to the growing poverty she found in her community since 1987 clashes between the government and the New People’s Army rebels displaced large amounts of her community, leaving them with no way to provide for themselves.

Loreta looked around her community for a way to help, and saw flowers, weeds and reeds. With the help of her husband and community, SHAPII was born. From an original staff of just ten individuals, SHAPII has grown to employ hundreds, completely transforming her disrupted community in the process.

Along the way she developed a foundation that provides scholoarships for bright but poor students in the community. Other initiatives have included computer literacy training, a food co-op, healthcare, maternal education classes and small-business classes to encourage other community members to create livelihood projects of their own.

Loreta is now dealing with the complications that come with the growth of SHAPII from a small initiative to a large company with worldwide aspirations. Loreta remains unsure if she can balance her mission of social responsibility with the equally important task of being competitive in a global marketplace.

Betty KineneIn 1983, with Uganda caught in a cycle of seemingly endless regime changes and civil war, Betty Kinene, a disabled widow with a family, made her living selling crafts in a kiosk. When the Obote II regime displaced her business she was left with no way to support herself. Never one to be defeated, and with the help of Marilyn Dodge, a UNICEF worker, Betty founded Uganda Crafts to benefit women, orphans and the disabled by teaching them weaving techniques and selling their baskets globally.

In 2000 Uganda Crafts 2000, Ltd. was formed when the company was able to stand on it’s own without donations, on the strength of it’s export sales. At times employing hundreds of women, Uganda Crafts is often the only opportunity standing between women in the community and destitute poverty.

Betty is now struggling to keep Uganda Crafts afloat during the economic crisis. While she once employed hundreds, she can only afford to purchase baskets from about 20 individuals as export orders shrink. She hopes that her business model will be able to sustain her and her artisans through these hard times.

More information about the The Enterprising Kitchen coming soon!

Many of the crafts featured on this website and in the CRAFTING HOPE film can be purchased at Ten Thousand Villages, the world’s oldest fair trade retailer.