Malaika was founded in 2004 by Margarita Andrade and Goya Gallagher who, after growing up in their native Ecuador, found themselves living and settling in Egypt. With a background in design and a keen interest in embroidery, crochet and hand-drawn thread work, they decided to utilise Egyptian cotton to produce high quality bed linen previously not available in the local market.
At the heart of its business model, Malaika focuses on teaching hand embroidery to local women giving them a chance to learn a valuable skill and improve their economic standing.
The minute people take pride in their work it will change their whole life
Goya Gallagher, Co-Founder
This model grew from a simple idea: many women, regardless of age, background or literacy, can learn to sew. Today, dozens of underprivileged Egyptian women and refugees, travel to Malaika's self-funded embroidery school to learn embroidery techniques. Once proficient, the women leave the school and return to work from home, making way for more women to be trained there. Most have never held a needle before.
When you empower a woman you empower a whole family
Margarita Andrade, Co-Founder
This model empowers women to take charge of their economic futures without breaking social norms. Because many work from home, they can generate an income - and make a difference - without disrupting traditional family patterns and cultural expectations. The Malaika model is flexible and brings out the strengths of each individual woman. That means each Malaika product is a small work of art, crafted between people, in a dynamic, fluid and creative process.
We believe that promoting entrepreneurship and responsible business is a stronger form of empowerment than aid.
Since the launch of its first collection Malaika's business has flourished. In 2009 Malaika built its own factory employing 60 workers, enabling absolute control on quality and craftsmanship. In 2018 we opened our own embroidery school.
In addition to its signature bedding, Malaika’s range now includes striking silkscreen-printed accessories, super-soft terrycloth bath towels, sumptuous cushions and beautifully embroidered table linen, all crafted from the finest Egyptian materials
Being able to produce the finest quality Egyptian bed linen and homewares, whilst creating sustainable paths to economic independence for so many women, is an immense privilege.