Nicola Holden Designs – Contemporary Interior Designer, London.

I have recently discovered a new online store that got me so excited that I wanted to share it with you, my lovely readers. is a home furnishings and accessories business based in London. It was set up by co-founder Alex Pescott after a holiday spent in South Africa. During the trip he bought some beautiful souvenirs from local craftspeople and it felt so good to be helping the local communities that he wondered if there was a way to do more to help, and that was the inspiration for this very special online shop.

Sinatra Chandelier

When I read MadeEthical’s story it really hit home for two reasons. Firstly they sell beautiful homewares on their website, which appealed to the Interior Designer me. And secondly, a portion of all the money they make goes to African charities, which appealed to the African Charity Trustee me.

Picture Frame - Mosaic Green

Alex comments: “We identified several small, community based projects who understood local needs better and we started sourcing items directly from the people who made them, paying the craftsman an honest wage & turning them into positive role models in their communities. Of course we couldn’t source all our inventory from South Africa but regardless of what item a customer purchases from us, we will gift an item to one our community projects.”

Armchair Mammoth

Don’t you just love this range of handknitted toys, produced by Gogo Olive in my Zimbabwe? Gogo Olive started as a simple vision of a group of women singing and laughing together while creating things with their hands. It gathers around 60 women-knitters from four different projects in 3 different areas of Zimbabwe. As well as creating employment for local women the aim of Gogo Olive is to give them hope as they have the opportunity to use their craft skills to build a future for themselves and their families.

Knitted Toy - Elephant

So there you have it – feel good shopping at your fingertips! What are you waiting for?

“No one has ever become poor by giving.”
Anne Frank, diary of Anne Frank

Image credits from

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education-nelson-mandela-picture-quoteIt is with a mixture of emotions that I have said goodbye to Nelson Mandela these past couple of weeks. Sadness at his passing, but gratitude for the legacy that he has left us. His courage and determination is an example to us all!

Mandela once said “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world”, and that is so true.

I think that most of you, my lovely readers, know that my home is Zimbabwe, and that I have a great passion for the African continent. My heart is still very much there! I don’t know, however, how many of you know about the other hat I wear – the hat that is not interior design. So, as 2013 comes to an end, and it is generally a time of reflection, I thought I would tell you about the charity that I am a trustee for.

Zimbabwe's children

The charity is called Makomborero, which means ‘blessings’ in Shona, one of the local languages in Zimbabwe. Makomborero is a small charity that is making a huge impact on Zimbabwe’s children. The charity gives talented students the opportunity to complete their A-Level education, giving these children the chance to fulfil their undeniable potential, and hope for a better future. These children are so desperate to learn that, prior to Makomborero, one of our students was walking 15 miles each way to school – more than a marathon every day just for the privilege of getting an education. That was Peter. Peter is now working for an accountancy firm, and is studying to become an accountant. You can read the inspiring stories of what our students have so far accomplished on the Makomborero website.

Makomborero students

Makomborero is linking up with the organisers of the UK’s largest choral festival, Brandenburg Choral Festival, to raise funds through ticket sales for a concert featuring the voices of Vivace Chorus and Farnham Youth Choir performing works by two top contemporary English composers, including Rutter’s Mass of the Children and Chilcott’s Requiem.

The “Rutter by candlelight” concert will be held at St Martin-in-the-Fields Church on Trafalgar Square, on Friday 3rd January starting at 7.30pm. Tickets cost £18 and can be bought through the Makomborero events page.


So if you, like me, have been inspired by Mandela, and would like to have an opportunity to make a real difference in someone else’s life, please consider Makomborero. And, if you do attend our concert, do drop by and say hello. I’ll be there along with one or two other UK trustees.

“Education is the great engine of personal development. It is through education that the daughter of a peasant can become a doctor, that the son of a mineworker can become the head of a mine, that a child of a farmworker can become the president of a great nation. It is what we make out of what we have, not what we are given, that separates one person from another.”
Nelson Mandela

  • Posted in Charity | Comments Off on Mandela’s Legacy and Hope for Zimbabwe’s Children