Madagascar is known for a vast array of handicrafts, but most of all for hand-loomed wild silk and raffia. If something can be made from raffia, the Malagasy people can do it. They weave it into placemats uniquely combined with vetiver root and reeds, and shape it into the most wonderful animals…giraffes, zebras and those famous lemurs.
When I traveled to Madagascar last July, I was able to visit Jacques who leads the team of artisans that make raffia animals for Eternal Threads. We met with him at his home where they were working in the courtyard stripping the raffia and preparing it to be dyed for the colorful animals. The living space of his home was approximately 300 sq. feet.
When Eternal Threads gives Jacques an order for animals, he gives employment to twenty families. The poverty in Madagascar is crushing and income from their craft is critical to their survival.