Bezalila – Madagascar
Bezalila is based in Madagascar and was founded in 1994 as a co-operative to unite local workshops. It provides Fair Trade employment to artisans who were previously living in poverty. The artisans specialise in the modelling of recycled tin cans, called “Kapoaka”. With the profits generated by the workshops, Kapoaka artisans have built their houses, bought rice fields and established a pig-breeding farm.
n 1986 during a visit by S.E.L., a French development organization, to their aid programs, a group of women presented exhibitions of some Malagasy handcrafts. S.E.L. was impressed by the work of the women and they sent a craft representative to set up an export structure, so they could purchase and sell their handicrafts in France.
During the next few years, Artisanat SEL (as S.E.L.’s craft division became known) assisted these disparate workshops to form a cooperative structure, which became Bezalila in 1994.
Now independent, Bezalila has 18 workshops, providing Fair Trade employment to formerly impoverished artisans in crafts such as weaving, woodwork, bone carving, and modelling recycled tin cans, called “Kapoaka” in Madagascar.
Bezalila provides sellers in the western world with its range of models of old Citroen 2CV cars (the French equivalent of the VW) and other vehicles out of recycled drink cans.