Cycle of Good
Know the story
Cycle of Good is genuinely helping to end poverty in one of the poorest communities in the world. Currently employing 10 Malawian tailors full time, but with ambitions to grow this to a team of 100, they earn a good wage and can support their families, without any charity donations or handouts. Cycle of Good pays above the national living wage and offers full employment rights such as paid holiday and pension.
Cycle of Good is the latest initiative to join a hub of social enterprises created by the charity over the past ten years. Situated in Chilomoni Township, Malawi, the enterprises together employ 500 people who have trained and worked to create businesses that fund a vital children’s centre. The centre provides early years care and family support to around 2000 vulnerable children at any one time. It is a quiet revolution of skills building and economic growth in a country with no welfare state. Living in a modern western democracy it is sometimes hard to imagine the full implications of ‘no welfare state’. Put in stark terms it simply, literally and brutally means: if you don’t earn, you don’t eat. Neither do the children.
Cycle of Good builds on all this amazing work to make something even more wonderful. They now collect waste inner tubes and other products, ship them in their containers to Malawi and give them to the tailors who carefully craft useful and beautiful items. They also carefully source other Malawian made items, especially when they are made from recycled and sustainable materials. They ship all these amazing products back to the UK where they sell them to lovely people like you! The profits pay for them to send more containers to Malawi and all surpluses directly fund the work of the children’s centre. That is why they call it the Cycle of Good!
There is meaning behind all of the product names and they come from Chichewa which is the language widely spoken in Malawi. Look out for our translations for you.
The ‘chitenge’ fabric is from a traditional South East African design and cycleofgood tailors purchase the material from local fabric suppliers. The choice they make is entirely left to their own style and is normally then incorporated into one of their own fashion creations! Kelly, who works at cycleofgood, says ‘I’ve seen many photos of our tailors and think that the design of their chitenge looks familiar and then realise it is the same as the lining of one of our bags or phone cases, etc!”
This is so heart-warmingly true to the spirit of Rainbow Life: connecting people; producers and consumers; their lives and their stories. The idea that you, sitting in the UK, could be using a laptop case with a lining literally cut from the same one piece of cloth that the tailor, sitting in Malawi, has used to make herself or a family member a shirt. It is such a strong human connection.
Look good, feel good, do good. What could be better?
A few heart-warming stories about the tailors lives and working environment can be found via the blog :