We started in 2010 in a small workplace in the boutique of Zenji Hotel where local woman created products from recycled waste. As it grew, the need arose for a bigger place to accommodate more products, giving birth to CHAKO!
Our mission is to increase economic opportunity in the island Zanzibar by enabling artisan craft producers in Zanzibar to expand their product ranges, establish networks and connect with broader markets.
We initial worked according the “Tourist2Tourist” concept, meaning we make souvenirs for tourists from the waste that tourists directly produce. This offers tourists a way to reduce their negative impact on the island with a positive approach; by buying original, innovative souvenirs for friends and family.
Nowadays, our products do not only reach tourists, but also other people around the globe.
CHAKO encourages learning by doing and encourages local artisan craft producers, mostly women, to be creative and artistic without any limitations.
CHAKO is Upcycled & Uplifted!
Zanzibar is the overall name of the group of islands in the Indian Ocean, just before the coast of Tanzania. Unguja (also called ‘Zanzibar island’) is the most popular one. Over 200,000 people visit Zanzibar every year.
The historical past of Zanzibar is still alive in the architecture and traditions of many local Swahili whose life has remained the same for centuries.
With our unusual blend of culture along with white sandy beaches, swaying coconut trees and crystal azure waters – it is no wonder we receive so many visitors each year.
While we appreciate our guests and the support they bring through tourism, it does bring more waste to our tiny island. That is why recycling is so important to us.
Each CHAKO product is made of recycled materials. Not only does this create something beautiful out of waste, it shows our local community to learn to recycle themselves.
CHAKO invites craft workers to the workshop where they become familiar with the meaning of upcycling, learn about target groups and the various products existing in the marketplace.
Through co-creative design thinking workshops, artisan craft workers in Zanzibar are stimulated and encouraged to independently create up-cycled, hip products. This stimulates social and economic empowerment whilst promoting sustainability.
By collaborating with different partners on the island, a bigger platform is created for artisan craft producers in Zanzibar using waste material. Through awareness campaigns, local Zanzibari are encouraged to create up-cycled products as well.
CHAKO collects empty bottles at hotels and resorts and introduces the concept of recycling in the day-to-day life for local Zanzibari.
In 2015 CHAKO was selected for the 3 years programme Fair Trade Finest, which is a joint initiative of CBI (Centre for the promotion of imports from developing countries) and Dutch Association of Wereldwinkels, in cooperation with World Fair Trade Organization.
The programme links us to (new Fair Trade) buyers, to increase our export. A personal coach guides us to improve our quality and design.
We hope other companies will be inspired by our example and will be encouraged to become a member of World Fair Trade Organisation as well.
A dhow is the tradition sailing vessel used by the fisherman in Zanzibar to catch fish day-in and day-out. Today, the dhow is also used to take tourists on Indian Ocean excursions. The triangular dhow sails are made of cotton. After intensive usage these sails need to be replaced.
We are able to breath new life into old dhow sails by creating beautiful bags. The fishermen also benefit as they receive a fair price for their old dhow sails!
Glass bead making is among the oldest human arts, dating back over 3000 years ago. Our Nigerian glass furnace is built by hand and is the only one in Zanzibar. This type of glass furnace allows us to come up with unique and beautiful glass beads and jewellery.
Members of our staff create one of a kind glass beads, adding different colours and creating various shapes so that no two beads are the same! By using old glass bottles and old window glass, a beautiful bead is produced!
We create different kinds of paper bead curtains. The beads are made out of old magazines.
View our unique bottle lamps and jars, made from recycled wine and/or spirit bottles. We also create drinking glasses in different sizes.