Ajiri Tea packaging
Women in the Kisii region of Kenya design and handcraft each label using dried bark from banana trees. Tea and bananas are the two biggest crops in this region of Kenya, and nearly every home has banana trees growing nearby. As the bark dries and falls off of the trees, the women collect it to create the labels for Ajiri Tea boxes. Using a razorblade, they cut out different designs from the bark. Each label is unique, and often features a scene from day-to-day life.
The paper used to make the boxes containing Ajiri Teabags is also handmade using water hyacinth, an invasive plant in Lake Victoria. Mike, the 29-year-old Kenyan who makes the paper, collects water hyacinth from the lake, and blends it with recycled office paper. The shade of each label can vary depending on the ratio of water hyacinth: office paper that he uses.
Inside of each box of tea is a twine made from banana tree bark and decorated with bright paper beads. The women hand cut, roll, and lacquer long, triangular strips of colored magazine paper to make the beads, and twist dried banana bark to make the twine.
In Kenya, it is especially difficult for women to find employment. But once employed, women tend to reinvest nearly all of their earnings back into their families and communities. Currently, five different women’s groups, totaling over 60 women, are creating artwork for the Ajiri Tea Company.
text from Ajiri Tea website [X]
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