Bombolulu Workshops & Cultural Centre - A Project for Physically Disabled

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. In the early 1970's the project was transferred to the Association for the Physically Disabled of Kenya (APDK).

As a project of the APDK, the name was changed to Bombolulu Workshops and Cultural Center and the project was relocated to Mombasa, off the Mombasa/Malindi highway. At the Coast Province, the APDK has a total of five projects and all in their different ways pursue to accomplish the same mission;

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.

Since its inception, the project has trained over 500 physically handicapped, blind and deaf persons in crafts who have been reintegrated into their communities. The direct beneficiaries of the Centre are 50 permanent employees and 40 contracted workers. In addition, these employees and workers support approximately 500 dependants in form of spouses and children as well as about 500 close relatives such as parents, brothers and sisters.

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 – use of recycle materials in some of the handicrafts and toxic free dyes in our screen printing.

Jewellery are 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, was well as leather products such as canvas bags, sandals, leather belts etc. Finally, woodcarvings that include unique designs made from sustainable hardwood from managed tree plantations. The workshops have a production capacity of nearly 280,000 separate items per annum.

Workers 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 centre also runs a clinic and nursery school for the children of the workers.