You can find our products at the Lakeland Downtown Farmer’s Curb Market most Saturdays (8am-2pm) and at several local retail locations in Lakeland – Hot Heads Salon, Serendipity Hair & Skin Studio & The Barn Antiques in Lake Alfred. Contact us today if you’d like to book a home show!
Amani Ya Juu – Amani ya Juu (“peace from above” in Swahili) is a sewing and training program for marginalized women in Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, and Liberia. We’ve visited the Amani Ya Juu workshop in Nairobi several times, and continue to be impressed by both their business model and work ethic. Women at Amani are learning to work together through faith in God who provides a peace that transcends all cultural and ethnic differences. Amani portrays a unique picture of diversity, with women coming from Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, Uganda, South Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Mozambique, and other African nations.Amani began in 1996 with four women sewing placemats together in Nairobi. Since then, Amani has grown to over 100 women representing ethnic groups and experiences from all across Africa. As women return to their homelands, they carry Amani with them. Amani has established a presence of peace in five African nations (Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Liberia, and Uganda) and two US cities (Washington, DC and Chattanooga, TN). Each Amani center is locally registered and independently managed with support from an international leadership team.
Candlelight School – The Candlelight School, operated by Fred and Alice Afwai, serves a slum of 15,000 people with great dedication amid alarmingly high poverty levels. We’ve visited this slum, met with Alice, and are excited to offer a variety of her group’s fair trade products.
Dsenyo – The Mwayiwathu HIV Support Group is comprised of 17 members, primarily women afflicted by AIDS, either personally or within their family. Just over one third of the women are widows who have lost their husband to the virus. Widowhood often leaves Malawian women economically disempowered and socially excluded; Mwayiwathu creates opportunity and works for change. The women in this group use their wages to send their kids to school, pay for transport to the hospital to get ARVs, make improvements to their homes, and invest in side business ventures. One woman mentioned she has been able to use the sewing skills learned at Mwayiwathu to stitch school uniforms for her children and others in the community, which makes her very proud!
Hope Together – We met with Hope Together in April of 2014 and purchased several of their fair trade goods. They are a group of AIDS infected women, looking to better themselves, their families, and their communities. Due to local instability due to civil unrest in their slum, we weren’t able to visit their homes/work site, but we are looking forward to continuing our partnership with them.
Imani Workshops – Established in 2005, Imani Workshops is a revenue-generating social enterprise focused on producing high quality crafts by HIV+ artisans in western Kenya. Due to stigma associated with HIV/AIDS, many AMPATH patients have a hard time securing a job or accessing credit for a business loan. The Family Preservation Initiative and Imani Workshops gives them a second chance at getting their life back on track while, at the same time, promoting economic self sufficiency. Imani employees all earn a living by producing high quality handmade goods. Imani workshops aims to expand its reach to the vulnerable individuals in other sites in Kenya by providing capacity building and markets to other HIV positive artisan groups. It is laying foundation for an Imani Training Institute and testing a “work from home” Model called Kazi Nyumbani to develop contract manufacturing relationships, incorporate those with disabilities and provide business ownership opportunities. Imani Workshops is currently comprised of 30 full-time employees and 220-100 part-time employees. 100% of the income earned through sales is reinvested in the Workshop through which artisans benefit from employment, skills training and other forms of empowerment.
Jared Odhiambo – We met Jared in April of 2014 when he agreed to join us as a tailor and artisan. Handmade in the village of Oyuma, Kenya, we’ve overseen this project from beginning to end. We received the funds & had a store/sewing center built in the village, and purchased the sewing machines with the funds provided from another charitable contribution. In April, after meeting and talking with Jared, we shopped for fabric, negotiated the terms of our professional relationship, and watched the project come to fruition. Jared’s commitment and passion for learning has led him to become a government qualified tailor, and he gone above and beyond to meet our needs and get our orders fulfilled in a timely fashion. We look forward to developing our artisan relationship with him.
Rosmary – Rosemary is one of our favorite people in the entire Oyuma Village. We first met Rosmary in 2012 when a team stayed at the local orphanage in the village. Rosemary works as a house-mother there, taking incredible care of the girls in the orphanage. When we take teams to the village, Rosemary is an incredibly capable cook – preparing food for 20+ people with one burner and a few pots and pans. In her spare time, she crochets headwraps and hats for us and also makes pop top purses.