Essaouira is the name of a coastal city in Western Morocco, located on the Atlantic Ocean southwest of Safi and Casablanca. For some time this surf resort used to be the residence of Dutch youth worker Jolanda van Iersel. Most children she worked with had single mom’s who were struggling to earn a living. She realised that the best way to help these children would be to help their mothers.
100% vegetable product
Besides tourism the city of Essaouira is known for its crafts. The making and processing of raffia is one of these crafts. Raffia is a 100% vegetable product made of the veins of palm leaves. It can be dyed in numerous beautiful colours, it’s strong but not coarse and it can be braided into baskets, table-mats, bracelets, hats and…shoes!
Through her work as a youthworker, Jolanda saw how single moms in Essaouira were having difficulties to survive. By helping these women to make raffia shoes for the European market, she offers them a decent way to earn a living. Therefore Jolanda founded the shoe label Jamingo Essaouira -simply known as JE-shoes- and she started a cooperation with about 20 women who know how to make raffia shoes. The cooperation also enables other women to learn the skills of raffia braiding.
To ensure the women will get most of the revenu, Jolanda is the only intermediary between them and the shops that sell the footwear. She also attends Dutch markets to sell the shoes by herself.
By buying a pair of JE-shoes you’re not only buying yourself a great pair of footwear but also helping a Maroccan child and its mother a step further to improve their lifes. A wonderful project that SHOEdesignmakers is more than happy to support!