Bombolulu Workshops was formed in 1969 in Mariakani, in Coast Province by the Methodist Church, Ministry of Social Services, the private sector and Peace Corps to create employment for people with disability. It was then registered as a business entity under Cap 499, Section 14, of the Law of Kenya as Bombolulu Coast Workshops for the Handicapped. In the early 1970’s the project was later transferred to the Association for the Physically Disabled of Kenya (APDK).
As a project of the Association for the Physically Disabled of Kenya (APDK), the project name was changed to Bombolulu Workshops and Cultural Center and the project was relocated from Mariakani to Mombasa, to a location off the Mombasa/Malindi highway (Plot 118/Section 1, M.N.) thereafter the area adopted the name Bombolulu initially known as Nziwa la Ngo’mbe.
At the Coast Province, the Association for the Physically Disabled of Kenya (APDK) has a total of five (5) projects and all in their different ways pursue to accomplish the APDK Missions which is.
To enable persons with disabilities overcome their physical limitations and empower them economically and socially to become self-reliant and fully integrated members of their communities
Bombolulu Workshops effort towards this mission is through employment of over 120 disabled persons engaged in production of handicrafts namely jewelry, woodcarving, and textile and leather/canvass bags, for both local and export market.
Since its inception, the project has trained over 2000 physically Disabled persons, blind and deaf persons in tailoring, jewelry making, leather work and woodcarving who have been reintegrated into their communities.
The project produces:
- Jewlery made of locally available raw materials as well as semi-precious stones and other form of beads
- Fashion wear made of Kenyan cotton and hand printed for local and export markets
- Leather products such as canvas bags, sandals, leather belts etc for local and export market
Woodcarvings that include unique designs made from sustainable hardwood from managed tree plantations.
Mode Of production
Most of the production in the four sheltered workshops where handicrafts are produced is done by hands and hand tools.
The production systems and material strive to adhere to environmental concerns – this can be attested by use of recycle materials in some of the handicrafts and toxic free dyes in our screen printing. However, the tailoring and leather workshops do us machines-sewing and cutting machines
The handicraft produced is for both Local and Export Market- 60% of our revenue emanates from exports and 40% from the local sales.
Local market: The handicraft here is sold through our outlet located within our premise and mobile shop i.e., exhibitions in the various hotels of Mombasa, as well as individual hotels and boutiques all over Kenya
Export Market: 95% of these sales go to Fair Trade Market and 5% to the mainstream/non-fair-trade buyers
Impact of the Project
The direct beneficiaries of the Centre are 50 permanent employees and 30-40 contracted workers most of them physically handicapped, blind, deaf and mute persons.
Their incomes are directly derived from the sales of the products, as about 50% are employed on piecework basis, as such more orders received means an income for the piece workers as well as sustainability of the project.
90% of the workers are housed within the compound and receive medical benefit and school fees support for their children.
The center also runs a clinic and nursery school for the children of the workers.
The 120 employees and 40 contracted workers support about 200 dependents in form of spouses and children.
In addition, they support approximately 100 close relatives such as parents, brothers and sisters.
The Workshop also outsources from small producers who produce things like bones (cow and camels mostly) which are used as components in our jewelry production.
Dance and Model Troupes
The center has a 12-member Dance troupe which is specialized in traditional dances across Africa and usually entertains our visiting guests and tourists for a fee-entertain guests of partnered hotels in Mombasa for a fee as well and special events and places like airports and high functions.
The Modeling troupe is usually engaged during high hotel seasons and big sell functions to model and advertise our products especially fabric wear.
Thus, the ripple effect of any growth in this workshop has great positive impact on several families and citizens of Kenya and has greatly contributed to the economy at large.
The Dance Donation Campaign:
The Bombolulu Workshop and Cultural Center has been severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Please consider donating to support this important cause.