In honor of the spring season, we are inviting you to enter in the contest for our first Instagram give-away! If you are selected as the winner, you will be the lucky owner of our super cute spring-inspired Robertsport Clutch! This clutch can also be used as a wonderful Mother’s Day present or graduation gift!
The original idea of an Amani in Africa grew out of the civil conflict in the West African nation of Liberia. This clutch was handcrafted using West African fabrics and natural dyes. This fair trade bag represents and supports Africa’s pursuit of peace. Sturdy cotton printed fabric. Fully lined with embossed cotton accent. Single zippered interior pocket. Magnetic snap closure with brass medallion embellishment. Dimensions: 12″x 6″
We love it that more and more consumers are beginning to ask questions about where their products are coming from and about how their products are sourced! Amani ya Juu is endoresed by the Fair Trade Federation, which closely monitors working conditions and the way that materials are created and sourced.
We want to take a moment to thank several organizations who are spreading the Fair Trade love by featuring our products and work in the past several weeks!
1) The One Campaign: The One Campaign is co-founded by Bono and is a nonpartisan “campaigning and advocacy organization of more than 3.5 million people taking action to end extreme poverty and preventable disease, particularly in Africa… because the facts show extreme poverty has already been cut in half and can be virtually eliminated by 2030, but only if we act with urgency now.” They recently featured the story of…
At Amani ya Juu, our focus is spreading peace & empowering women, but we’re also earth friendly!
Check out some of our “upcycled” products made from recycled and scrap materials!
Cement Toiletry Case ($14)
Laptop Case ($24)
As Liberia rebuilds after it’s long civil war, many new buildings are going up, providing our center with an abundance of forgotten cement bags near construction sites. On their way to and from work, the Amani seamstresses in Liberia pick up the empty cement bags they find on the ground. They wash them andthen recycle them by turning them into fair trade products.
Remember the sock monkey? Amani Liberia has “upcycled” the original designwith an African makeover! Meet Colekeh, whose name means “We will do it” in Mano, a tribal language in Liberia. Read more about Colekeh here.
Colekeh Monkey Doll ($28)
Colekeh is named after a real Green Vervet monkey owned by our Liberia Country Director, Hannah. He lives nearby the Amani Libera center and loves hanging around as the seamstresses and tailors stitch!
Playful or powerful, classic or colorful, you will find something for every taste and every pocket at the Nairobi Maasai Market. A bazaar has grown from a few women selling their beaded wares to a world class craft market that offers a feast of fine pieces. True to its nomadic roots, the Maasai market is hosted in different locations each day of the week.
Nairobi Maasai Market Stalls
Over the years Amani has sought creative ways to support training for the marginalized women who come through her gate. Each vendor who supplies us with jewelry is a partner in this vision since each external product, as we call jewelry from the market, has become an additional revenue stream for Amani that ensures overhead is met without cost to the women. These pieces are sold in Amani shops, each accompanied with a partnership tag. “We are thankful for these great partnerships with vendors from Maasai Market and applaud them for their creativity”, says Amani Country Director Joyce Muraya.
Beautiful Maasai bead work
One of the fun things for our Amani Kenya Warehouse department is picking out unique jewelry pieces for Amani ya Juu. Milli, who receives external products, has an eye for exceptional quality and uniqueness which guarantees that you will find, in the Amani Kenya shop and on website amaniafrica.org, great accessories for a day in the office, on safari or for an evening out.
Amani would like to ask for your prayers and thoughts on behalf of our Liberia center, as well as on behalf of the victims of the recent Ebola outbreak in Guinea.
The center of the outbreak has occurred across the Guinea/Liberia border, about 20 miles distant from the Amani Liberia center.
Ebola is a hemorrhagic fever which occurs primarily among humans and primates, but is spread by other animals, including livestock and fruit bats. Alarmingly, it has a fatality rate of up to 90% and has no known vaccine or cure. This is the first outbreak of the disease in Guinea, and is thought to have spread through eating bushmeat (wild animals), including smoked bat and spicy bat soup, a traditional food of the area. The Guinean government has banned the eating of bats in hopes of stemming the spread of the disease.
This group is a sewing and training program for marginalized women established in Nairobi, Kenyon, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda and Liberia. Amani women are working together through faith in God who provides a peace that transcends all cultural and ethnic differences. It portrays a picture of diversity with women coming from the above countries to work together for the welfare of them all.
Amani is committed to holistic development. Women gain experience in stitching, quality control, purchasing , book keeping , management, and design. As new women enter the program, they are mentored in quality workmanship with strong emphasis on ethical business practices and harmonious relationship with people of different backgrounds.
The ultimate product of Amani are women of peace. In the face of conflict and poverty these women have regained stability and are sharing this gift of peace in her homes, communities and nations…
“We need to train children from an early age in peace, unity, and reconciliation.”
- Goreth, Amahoro Burundi Country Director
Amani Watoto in Kenya
Three times a year, production at the Amani Kenya center shuts down and the focus shifts to the children of the trainees. The event is a day camp called Amani Watoto, “Children of Peace” in Swahili. The children celebrate peace and forgiveness through games, crafts, and stories. Though they come from different ethnic groups, they learn to accept each other and play together regardless of differences.The camp is run by Amani ya Juu mothers contributing their unique skills of teaching, organizing, and cooking. Goreth, now the Burundi Country Director, took part in Amani Watoto in Kenya as a refugee from Burundi.
“Peace is something needed in children, so they will be thinking of peace in the future,” says Goreth. After several years in Kenya as refugees from Burundi, Goreth and her husband chose to bring the peace they had seen at Amani Kenya to their home. Today, the Burundi center employs 42 women and now Goreth is on a mission to bring peace to the next generation. As a country, Burundi has seen an incredible amount of violence. Goreth feels the key to the future of the country is children of peace. “They have a long life ahead of them, they will be models for this nation. The children of Amahoro are from different tribes, backgrounds, and religions. They should be working together.”
Goreth is asking that you help bring Amani Watoto to Burundi. Donations made to Watoto Burundi will go to teaching materials, crafts, & hot lunches. To donate online, visit amaniafrica.org/programs.
Goreth, Amahoro Burundi Dirctor
Meet the families of Amahoro Burundi
Hear from just a few of the mothers and children who will benefit from Watoto Burundi
Lydia with her three boys
Lydia’s husband is a polygamous man with at least 5 known wives. In her 6 years with Amahoro Burundi, she has earned money to pay for food, rent, clothing, and school fees for her boys. In addition, she has purchased land where she will build a house for her children.
“Amahoro has brought blessings of peace in our home,” said her boys. “We have food, we go to school, and we have clothes and friends.”
Anastasia, mother to 11 children
Anastasia has been with Amahoro for 7 years, and cares for her children with the help of her loving and respectful husband.
“We have very big hope,” said one of her many children. “We are all in school and eat twice a day. We used to eat once in two days. We have good health and hope for a better future.”
Anastasia is proud to provide for her family. “I earn a salary,” she says. “My role is to take care of women’s strength through cooking for them and taking care of them everyday for lunch.”
Esperence with her family
Esperence has been with Amahoro for 5 years, and her husband repairs the machines as a volunteer.
“We are a happy family and loved by God. Amahoro is a door for us.” says Esperence. She shares that just a few years ago, she and her husband shared one small banana between the two of them and their 2 children for 3 days. “But now, we are so glad to eat twice a day.”
Esperence and her husband are happy to be a part of Amahoro. “We live in peace and we love each other,” she says.
We’re so proud of our partners, One Mango Tree, and their founder Halle Butvin who was recently featured in the Express paper (looking stylish in jewelry by Amani ya Juu: our spike bone necklace and bracelet, available in the AmaniDC shop). Go Halle!
Halle Butvin-Founder of One Mango Tree
“Her job: Owner, One Mango Tree (a fair-trade clothing company selling Ugandan-made goods, onemangotree.com), and a senior advisor in the Smithsonian’s Office of International Relations Her style: Butvin (shown in her home office with her dog, Hank), frequently travels to Africa to oversee her clothing line, and this year, to help stock the Smithsonian Folklife Festival’s marketplace. “I love loose, flowy blouses paired with skinny pants or tucked into a pencil skirt,” Butvin says. And this ethical fashionista usually sports a funky accessory or two picked up while globe-trotting. “It’s often a big cuff or an artisan-made necklace,” she…