Wabbani LLC is a for-profit social enterprise that produces handmade, culturally-authentic home décor, personalizing IKEA products while fitting their exact specifications, and preserving cultures and habitats in marginalized communities. Our inaugural product line is made by indigenous artisans in the Rupununi region of Guyana, South America. In future we will offer an expanded product line from multiple countries.
Wabbani spun off the work of 2 nonprofits, Rupununi Learners Foundation (a US 501c3) and Rupununi Learners Incorporated, a Guyanese Nonprofit Corporation. The 2 nonprofits have partnered since 2007 to support Caiman House Field Station in the village of Yupukari, which hosts the Yupukari Public Library, the ecotourist guesthouse known as “Caiman House,” and several community-run conservation projects, with black caiman, jaguar and yellow-spotted sideneck Amazon river turtles.
Together we have raised the pass rate into secondary school from near zero to 75%; have been the largest village employer for a broad range of roles, and provided a local market for farmers and craftspeople. For more about our tourism and literacy work, visit http://rupununilearners.org
The decision to make Wabbani a for-profit company stems from the mission to create not only fair-wage employment, but also to be able to attract investment for scale, thereby generating significant funds for community development. Currently we are setting aside 2.5% of revenue (not profit) to be returned annually to participating communities, so they can build their own capacities to manage the development they choose.