Gogo Olive was established in 2008 as a response to Zimbabwe's incredible unemployment problem (it currently stands at 95%). Gogo Olive's vision is not only to provide sustainable employment to their women artisans, but to give them skills and knowledge to build a bright future for themselves and their families.
Julie Hagan, a Scottish woman living in Zimbabwe, started Gogo Olive with 6 ladies. The organization has now grown to over 60 ladies in 3 groups throughout Zimbabwe, as well as a prison rehabilitation program that allows artisans to earn a living while incarcerated. She chose knitting because it is an easily accessible craft with inexpensive supplies, and can be done from almost anywhere. This allows the ladies of Gogo Olive to knit from home or from Gogo Olive's inspiring workspace. Gogo Olive is not just an organization - it is a place of inspiration and empowerment. Artisans knitting for Gogo Olive are paid a living wage, offered savings plans and financial guidance, as well as empowerment and self-sufficiency education. Gogo Olive also provides emergency assistance, care packages for ladies who have just had a baby or been released from prison, school fee assistance, health care and the like.
Every Gogo Olive Shamwari (the shona word for "friend") is tagged with the name and photograph of the lady who knitted it, as well as the individual animal's name. These adorable heirloom knitted animals make wonderful gifts - including for yourself!
(Photography by Mana Meadows for Gogo Olive)