As a part of the baby pack that Child.org provide to all new mums we work with, we include a lovely kanga printed with a Team Mum design. Kangas are traditional garments worn by women in Africa around their waists as a wrap skirt or to carry babies on their backs. They are printed with a proverbial phrase or proverb that is used to educate, counsel, or communicate emotions. For our Team Mum kangas, we chose the phrase ‘Afya ya mama ubora wa jamii’, which means “a mother's health is of great impact to society”.
These vibrant and bold fabrics are made by Thika Cloth Mills, one of Kenya's leading textile manufacturers. The company was established in 1958 by Mahendra Khimasia along with his elder brothers and, since then, has been providing vital job opportunities for many people in the surrounding communities. They produce a range of different fabrics from cotton and polyester, including kangas, curtains, and bedsheets.
Our team visited the manufacturing facility, located 40kms north of Nairobi in Thika, to get an insight into the intricate kanga-making process. The plant usually runs twenty-four hours a day, with employees working in three shifts around the clock to ensure that all production needs are met. Check out how it all comes together:
Step one: cotton buds are spun to make yarn.
Step two: the yarn is used to make cloth.
Step three: the cloth is processed, bleached, stretched, and dried.
Step four: the cloth is printed with the Team Mum design.
Step five: the fabric is taken through a process known as curing which involves fixing the fabric colour.
Step six: package and deliver!
Unfortunately, like so many companies, Thika Cloth Mills have felt the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on their business, forcing them to cut back on production and lay off employees to make ends meet.
We are grateful to Thika Cloth Mills for all of their brilliant work and hope this new year brings business back better than ever.
Our 2020 Team Mum campaign will fund innovative maternal health projects, including launching a brand new Baby Box project that will reach 500 new mums
The team try on the kangas
Marti and Bobby