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Gelaye setting the pace in making handicrafts


Gelaye Deyas was born in Nekemte, East Welega Zone of Oromia Region, and raised like many other Ethiopian girls. She used to live with her father. Growing up, Gelaye attended primary and secondary schools, and went on to study theology in Addis Ababa. After an unsuccessful marriage, she became a single mum of an 18-year-old daughter. 

She is the founder and owner of ‘Gelancrafts’ company, which engages in producing handicrafts and creates opportunities for 20 other Ethiopian women. The idea of ‘Gelancrafts’ began during her visit to India.  Visiting an Indian handicrafts market made her  realize the amazing potential of Ethiopian women and it is then that Gelaye decided to start handicrafts business. Her aim was to improve and standardize the quality of the handicrafts produced in Ethiopia, increasing competitiveness of the craft industry and providing skills and source of income to the artisans.


The major target of her company is helping women in this sector to diversify their products and to create a great market opportunity for them so that they can earn a satisfying income from modernized products to be used in every customer’s daily routine life.

“Back in my childhood, I always wanted to have a life of meaning for myself and others. It was important for me to live my life in a way that shows kindness, care, and concern for others,” Gelaye said. As she is working for the improvement of others, she is also open to constantly learn and improve herself. She always wants to work with and around people.

So far, she has been providing handicrafts training for 700 women constituted from different walks of life and for members of school clubs in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET). She is working with the Ministry of Environment on the Going Green project.

“I think, passion, commitment and focus are very important factors in life especially for women to succeed,” Gelaye advised. 

Contact information
Gelan Handicraft Pvt. Ltd. Co
P.O. Box 56146
Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Email: gelayedeyas@gelancrafts.com