Selling vintage clothes to help disabled children in Africa

“Connecting is important, I think we can make a bridge between us and Africa,” said the owner of the Appel&Ei Groningen, who also runs a foundation for disabled children in Africa.

Griet van der Haar believes that everything in the world is connected. This is why her Appel&Ei stores focus not only on using recycled materials when constructing the store, but also sell products that were handmade in Africa.

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Handwoven Baskets ©Photo: Jana Sturmheit/The Scoop

Appel&Ei is a vintage store franchise in the Netherlands that lets the owners of the store decide on their own concept.

“In our organization, you can be who you are,” Griet told The Scoop about Appel&Ei. And she completely embraces that idea.

The store in Groningen opened in late September and has been a success so far, according to Griet.  During the first week, people were still somewhat shy about entering the store, but after less than a month there are already lots of customers, which Griet is satisfied about.

Aside from running the vintage store in three locations, Deventer, Zwolle, and Groningen, Griet is very passionate about her foundation, Griet’s Oogappeltjes, which helps disabled children in Africa.

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Logo of Griet’s Oogappeltjes ©Photo: Jana Sturmheit/The Scoop

To combine the two , she uses part of the profits made from selling the clothes and accessories to send money to projects in Uganda. One of these projects was building a well at a local school to provide the children there with clean water.

Griet cooperates with the Dutch airline KLM to transport various goods for the disabled children, like special need shoes, wheelchairs and books.

But it also goes the other way around: Griet goes to Uganda every two months, in order to help monitor the situation of the disabled children there, and give them opportunities to create products which they can sell in the Netherlands.

At the store in Groningen, handmade elephant puppets and hand woven baskets can be purchased. All the profit of these products will go back to those, who produced them in Uganda.

Every time you buy one of these products, it will have a tag included, thanking the customer for their purchase, of which all profits go to the foundation.

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Elephant stuffed toy ©Photo: Jana Sturmheit/The Scoop

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