Andrea Kolb of The Next Women meets Tigist and Haimanot Damtew from Ethiopia, founders of jewelry design company T&H Designs, who were trained in the trade by the NGO Gemini Trust. Andrea herself is the founder of social fashion brand ABURY, one of the companies through which pieces of jewelry from T&H Designs are sold.
Tigist and Haimanot Damtew are twins. Already this fact would be worth a whole story, seeing that twins in a country like Ethiopia are rarely to be found. For poor families like the Damtew’s, who also have another three children, twins are twice the burden. They often get separated, or only one of the two children survives their early childhood.
However, Tigist and Haimanot were lucky. The NGO Gemini Trust trained the two girls in jewelry design. Their first pieces were sold in cooperation with the NGO; however, they soon founded their own company, T&H Designs, in 2005, when they were only 17 years old. The twins are almost too successful in their field, and since there is nothing like a copyright law in Ethiopia, their designs are replicated by local competitors. But Tigist and Haimanot take it easy: “First of all, we can’t do much against it. And second it just shows people like our designs.”
Read more at The Next Women