Women in White

In Greek mythology, goddesses were women of great power. They were looked at as strong, unique, and worthy women. Aphrodite was the goddess of love and beauty. Nike was the goddess of victory. Selene was the goddess of the moon.

This past week, Amanis own Molly Gardener, held a photo shoot titled Women in White. A beautiful group of women, of all shapes and sizes, and of all colors and creeds came together to be celebrated and to celebrate some of the amazing products that Amani women have made.

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Women don’t need Greek mythology to inspire them. We have each other for that! History is rich with all kinds of women who have displayed their courage, creativity, and compassion through out history.

What was it about these made these women that empowered them to do what they did and to stand out in history?

Amelia Earhart was the first female to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean and across the North American Continent.

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Rosa Parks was a key player in the civil rights movement. In 1955, while on her way home from work, Rosa refused to give up her seat on a segregated bus. This would lead to a year and a half boycott of busses until the Supreme Court ruled segregated buses as unconstitutional.

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Mother Teresa, who was born in Macedonia, lived most of her life in India. She was a Roman Catholic sister and missionary. He mission in life was to comfort the poorest of poor, and to make sure the dying were not alone.

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Margaret Thatcher was the longest-serving British Prime Minister of the 20th century and is the only woman to have held the office.

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Each woman of Amani ya juu is living out a dream. It’s a dream for a better future, a dream where they see their children succeeding, and a dream that’s filled with endless possibilities. These women are doing more than stitching another quilt; they are carefully threading hope. They are doing more than bending metal for another bracelet, they are reshaping their destiny . For with each needle, hammer, stitch and design, they take one step closer to being who they were created to be. Who we were all created to be.

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The only thing that made some women stand out over others in history books, is that they knew their self worth. They didn’t let their gender, age, location, or situation prevent them from doing what their heart desired.

Each day you put on or use and Amani product, feel empowered. Hear Alicia Keys “this girl is on FIRE” playing as you walk out the door.

If you don’t currently own and Amani product, we can help you with that. Check out our product at our online store, and on these fabulous models below!

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(African Sankofa Scarf)

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(Maasai Infinity Scarf)

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(Kitenge Wallet)

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(Bottle Bead Brass Strand)

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(African Sankofa Scarf)

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(African Sankofa Scarf, Kitengela Glass Bead Necklace)

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(Leshao Bracelet)

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5 Ways to Spread Peace

Amani ya Juu is Swahili for “Peace from Above”. Want to spread peace in your life?

Look no further.

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1. Purchase Ethically Sourced Products or Gently Used Items

“For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.” 1 Corinthians 14:33 

In a world that encourages mindless purchasing every new gadget, there are now many peaceful alternatives. When you purchase fair trade items from Amani ya Juu or other like minded companies, you are supporting a more peaceful world. Learn more about this here.

Practical tips:

Breathe new life into things you already own.

Fix what is broken instead of quickly replacing it with something new.  

Find ways to enjoy your time without spending money. When you do choose to purchase something new, research what you are buying. Ask these important questions: Did it come from a place that respects it’s workers? Was it made with ethically sourced products?fair trade

Look for the Fair Trade symbol when you are purchasing chocolate, coffee, tea, spices, bananas, and candy.


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Decorate your home with beautiful products that are also giving beautiful opportunities. Need some inspiration?

Simple changes such as these make a huge difference in our world.

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2. Take simple steps to Eliminate Waste

“I only feel angry when I see waste. When I see people throwing away things we could use.”- Mother Teresa

Practical Tips:

Host a gathering where your friends and family bring the things in their fridge and pantry that are nearing expiration dates. Then you can make a lovely dinner out of the random ingredients and avoid food waste.IMG_7913

Recycle and composting are ways to become good stewards of our environment. Maybe take it a step further and switch to reusable products. If this one inspires you, you might want to check out Amani’s beautiful tea towels and cloth napkins

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3. Share Your Resources

“Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?'”- Martin Luther King Jr.

In all stages of life, their our ways to be generous to our fellow brothers and sisters. There are always simple ways we can share what is ours whether it is our time, money, equipment, friendship, or food. 

Practical Tips

Bake a loaf of banana bread and bring it to a friend who is having a hard time.

Write a simple email to a friend and offer to run errands for them.

Begin a monthly donation, no matter how big or small, with a organization or your church.untitledFebruary-15-2015-17-300x450

Volunteer your time and talents.

If you are interested in helping with Amani ys Juu’s many projects, check out our donations page.  Another great way to help Amani spread peace is by volunteering. Those who volunteer tend to have more rewarding and peaceful lives. Consider volunteering through our box program here

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4. Educate Yourself

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”- Nelson Mandela

We live in a new age where information is not only at our finger tips but also free. A great way to begin spreading peace is becoming a resource yourself.

Practical Tips:

There are great places online that can help you stay up to date on what is going on around the world. Need some ideas on where to go? Check out this great article

Also an easy way to do this is to put some interesting reads about social change on your bedside table. Check out our reading list here.

Host or join a book club or small group. It is powerful and beneficial to learn and pray with your community.

Interested in learning more about Amani ya Juu?  Here is a video about us, information about our centers,and sign up for our email newsletter .

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5. Simplify your Life

“This perpetual hurry of business and company ruins me in soul if not in body. More solitude and earlier hours!” -William Wilberforce fair trade sewing group africa

We need time in our life to care for our friends, families, and ourselves.

Slow down and rest.

Shop Amani. Spread Peace.

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Africa in Hollywood

Africa is IN, all over Hollywood. You might be surprised at some of the biggest celebrities you never knew were from Mama Africa. Then, there are those celebrities who love to enthrall themselves with the bright colors and patterns of Kitenges just like those you see on some our Amani products.

Whether Hollywood celebrities are from Africa or just wearing African fashion, the continent is well represented on the red carpet!

Did you know both Lupita Nyong’o and Charlize Therone were born and raised in Mama Africa?

Lupita, most noted for her Oscar award winning performance in 12 Years a Slave, is the first Kenyan woman to win an Oscar. She says, “When I look down at this golden statue may it remind me, and every little child, that no matter where you are from your dreams are valid.”

Charlize Therone is a native of South Africa. You might have seen her in films such as Cider House Rules, Mighty Joe Young, or the Legend of Bagger Vance. But, it was her performance in Monster that won her an Oscar for Best Actress in 2003.

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Djimon Hounson was born in the small West African country of Benin, before immigrating to France at the age of 13. He is most known for his Oscar nominated rolls in Amistad, Gladiator, and Blood Diamonds. Pictured is his then-girlfriend Kimora Lee Simmons. Her dress was designed by Kevin Hall and hand painted in Ghana.

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Did you know the batik products made by Amani ya Juu (aprons, placemats, and napkin sets) were all hand-dyed by the women of Amani?

Last years heart breaking tale The Good Lie is a must see. This movie shares the tail of Sudanese orphans making the journey to a refugee camp in Kenya after a northern militia killed their family. The actors who played these orphans were all refugees themselves as children( Arnold Oceng, Ger Duany, Emmanuel Jal, Kuoth Wiel ). Many women of Amani ya Juu, including our founder, know first-hand what it is like to be a refugee. (History of Amani)

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You don’t just have to be from Africa to represent it. Check out all of these Grammy Award winners (Rhianna, Gwen Stefani, and Lady Gaga) representing Africa through every day fashion gems.

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Even Amani has made its way into the spot light. Allie Gonino, best known for her role as Laurel Mercer on The Lying Game, is pictured with our Robertsport Clutch at a Pass the Light premier.

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Amani ya Juu creates many Hollywood-worthy designs. Check out our clothing, jewelry, and accessories—all in the colors and prints of Africa!

10 Ideas for Hosting Your Amani Party

An Amani Gathering is any event where people come together to learn about and support Amani ya Juu. We like to call them parties :). They are hosted throughout the United States by volunteers who receive boxes of products to sell to their friends, family, and communities.

Here’s 10 ideas for hosting an Amani Party! Combine these tidbits with beautiful African products, and your event is sure to be a success!

1) Host a move night.

Sell products and have an African movie night. We recommend The Good Lie with Reese Witherspoon. It’s a heartwarming and educational film about Sudanese refugees who resettle in the US.

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2) Make cookies.

Bake up some delicious treats. Get creative with an African cookie cutter and icing, or check out our Kilimanjaro Cookie Recipe from Kenya.

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3) Do brunch.

Invite friends over to enjoy a yummy brunch and fair trade shopping. Bonus points for using fair trade ingredients.

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4) Takeover the local coffee shop.

Are  you buds with a coffee shop owner? See if he or she will let you set up your products at their place one weekend.

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5) Invite the whole neighborhood.

Take your box of products outside and invite the neighbors by for a peak! It might just turn into a block party.

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6) Tea time.

Invite your lady friends over for a cup of tea. We recommend our Chai Tea Recipe from Kenya.

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7) Become a campus representative. 

Ask your college if you can host a sale at an upcoming event. Rachel (right) at Baylor University in Texas has hosted several sales for us!

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8) Bring us to church with you.

Ask your local church if you can set up after a service.

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9) Help your friends with their Mother’s Day gift.

Host a sale in April or early May and encourage your friends and family to pick out something for the special mom in their life.

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10) Host a Christmas sale.

It’s never to early to sign up for a sale. Your friends and family will love picking out gifts with meaning for Christmas!

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Questions? Let’s talk.

Whether you’re still learning more or already browsing hors d’ oeuvre recipes, email volunteer@amaniafrica.org for details.

Chattanooga Marketing/Resource Development Intern

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Interested in working with women in developing countries? What about poverty development through business? Amani Chattanooga is looking for a Marketing/Resource Development Intern!

Position: Marketing/Resource Development
Length: 3-5 months
Hours: Approximately 20 hours/week
Location: Amani Chattanooga, 420 S. Willow St., Chattanooga, TN (some work can be done from home)

Read the Job Description for this internship.

To Apply: http://www.amaniafrica.org/intern

Meet Our Intern: Jessica

Jessica's celebrating Halloween Amani Style

Jessica’s celebrating Halloween Amani Style.

Name: Jessica Schachle Lundquist

Hometown: Chattanooga, Tennessee

School & Degree: University of Tennessee Chattanooga Pathway, Bachelor of Political Science: Non-Profit Management (May 2016)

Role at Amani: I am the Marketing and Resource Development intern. I help out with our social media platforms, writing blog posts, helping in the Chattanooga Warehouse, researching ways to grow our online presence through giveaways and cross promotional opportunities with other blogs, and generally assisting wherever I am needed.

What made you want to intern with Amani? I  fell in love with the products of Amani before I even heard about the mission and story of Amani ya Juu. I would see the products around town, in a friend’s kitchen, or around a stranger’s wrist and ask about it and it was Amani every time. When I finally heard the mission of peace, reconciliation and empowerment, there was no turning back. I fell in love with the organization and applied just a week later. I am so grateful for this opportunity.

Random Facts: I am a twin, Little Women is my favorite movie, and I drink coffee like it’s going out of style

Favorite Amani Product: Lapa Infinity Scarf

 

*Jessica was recently hired as our Wholesale Manager! That means her position is up for grabs. Interested? Apply at our website.

Christmas Greetings from Becky Chinchen

headerChristmas greetings in the name of Christ!

As preparations for Christmas day heighten, the halls of Amani ya Juu centers are filled with sounds of women laughing, heartfelt prayers, songs of praise, and the gentle hum of sewing machines.

This year, Amani women have trusted God through both immeasurable blessings and incredible pain. Through it all, the Amani sister centers have encouraged one another. We as an Amani family continue to remember and pray for the Amani Liberia members daily. The Amahoro Burundi women sang their prayers to those in Liberia through hymns 4,000 miles across the continent.

Goreth’s hymn of prayer:

“Nkuko nabanya na Mose niko nzobana namwe. Sinzobahemukira sinzobata. Shikama musire amanga Uhoraho ari kumwe namwe.” (Translation: I was with Moses, I will be with you. I will not leave you nor forsake you. Be strong and courageous God is with you.)

 

Amani ya Juu continues to be a haven of peace in the midst of a broken, suffering world. This Christmas we are reminded that it is Christ who brought this gift of peace.

“Unto us a Child is born…of peace there will be no end.” Isaiah 9

 

 

We thank you for standing alongside us this year.
May your Christmas be filled with peace from above, “Amani ya Juu”.

In Christ, who is our Peace,

Becky Chinchen
Amani ya Juu
Executive Director/Founder

 

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AmaniDC says farewell to Mount Pleasant

The AmaniDC shop will be closing its doors after 6 years on Mount Pleasant Street and moving to our website, amaniafrica.org.

Our mission to pass God’s peace globally will continue through our website and volunteer sales.

We are appreciative of the local community support from each of our customers, donors, volunteers, church supporters, our DC Board of Advisors, community partners, retail partners, and many others.

The Amani family appreciates the important role you have played in the life and history of AmaniDC. May His peace be with you always.

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Julia showing off the warehouse.

Debbie, Brittany, Rachel, and Julia...all AmaniDC pioneers

Debbie, Brittany, Rachel, and Julia…all AmaniDC pioneers

Customers in the shop (photo by Lou Ann Aepelbacher)

Customers in the shop (photo by Lou Ann Aepelbacher)

Julia, a former AmaniDC employee

Julia, a former AmaniDC employee.

The Sankofa Fashion Show

The Sankofa Fashion Show

Brittany (former AmaniDC Director), Simprosa (Current Amani Uganda Director) and Rachel (AmaniDC Founder/Original Director)

Brittany (former AmaniDC Director), Simprosa (Current Amani Uganda Director) and Rachel (AmaniDC Founder/Original Director)

Bella and Julie at a 2010 Amani Kenya visit to AmaniDC

Bella and Julie at a 2010 Amani Kenya visit to AmaniDC

Debbie, Julia, Becky, and Brittany

Debbie, Julia, Becky, and Brittany

Our beautiful AmaniDC shop.

Our beautiful AmaniDC shop.

A sidewalk sale (photo by Lou Ann Aepelbacher)

A sidewalk sale (photo by Lou Ann Aepelbacher)

A visit to Amani Kenya

AmaniDC’s visit to Amani Kenya.

We love our volunteers!

We love our volunteers!

We love our volunteers!

We love our volunteers!

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2010 Amani Kenya visit to AmaniDC.

2010 Amani Kenya visit to AmaniDC.

 

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Sarah, AmaniDC Director, working hard in the shop.

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Brittany and Sarah, former and current AmaniDC Directors.

 

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Busting at the seams with product!

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Little ones enjoying a quilt.

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Amani models!

 

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Some of our vintage aprons

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Our baby dolls have always been popular at AmaniDC!

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Our view of Mount Pleasant.

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The colorful AmaniDC shop.

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AmaniDC had so many wonderful volunteers and employees!

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Julia in the warehouse at AmaniDC.

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Brittany working at AmaniDC.

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Great looking aprons!

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Offsite sales from AmaniDC’s early days…

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Rachel at a sale!

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Some visitors to AmaniDC from East Africa!

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Sankofa Fashion Show

2010 Amani Kenya visit to AmaniDC

2010 Amani Kenya visit to AmaniDC

 

Thank you Mount Pleasant!

AmaniDC is moving online!

Two months of free shipping
for our loyal DC family with this coupon code at checkout:
SHIPDC214
Valid January 1, 2015 through February 28, 2015

Only at amaniafrica.org.

 

White Ribbon Day at Amani Kenya

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

John 14:27

The following is a message from Cathie Burke, an administrator at Amani Kenya.

The Australian Embassy in Kenya kicked of “White Ribbon Day” at Amani Kenya today. God truly blessed the event and we are so thankful!

Australia Ambassador to Kenya, Geoff Tooth (middle) along with Ms. Tegla Loroupe, an award winning Kenyan runner and peace ambassador  (left)

After the event, Joyce gave seven of the white ribbon pins to the men working at Amani Kenya.

Kenyan and Australian men taking this oath, “I swear never to commit, excuse or remain silent about violence against women”

Thanks so much to Christine, Dorothy and all the Cafe staff for an incredible job with the breakfast buffet they served. We had been told to expect around fifty people but seventy five people joined us. We not only had enough food but every guest only had compliments of the Cafe.

The women of Amani ya Juu world-wide would also like to thank you,  Joyce for all your hard work. We are very thankful that Amani could be a voice of God’s peace for this campaign. We pray for continued blessings for the work of Amani globally and The White Ribbon Project as we work together as ambassadors of peace!

Would you like to learn more about The White Ribbon Project?

Check out their website and Facebook page. 

We are Thankful

usaamani:

What are the women of Amahoro Burundi thankful for?

Originally posted on Amahoro ava Mw'Ijuru:

How does Amahoro Burundi give thanks?

We are thankful: Amahoro Burundi

The seamstresses of Amahoro Burundi have witnessed genocide, violence, hunger, and extreme poverty. But each day, they pause to offer praise and and humble prayers. These ladies (and a few men) wish to share with you the beautiful blessings in their life—as well as and prayer requests.

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“I am thankful for….everything (laughs). Specifically, I am thankful that my children are healthy. Pray for my husband who is not saved and for my family to find a new home to stay.”

Doracella (with daughter Shyella)

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I am thankful that there is peace among the ladies. Though it gets harder to get fabric and materials, I am also thankful for what we have.”
Goreth, Director (with husband Evariste)

Carine Amahoro Burundi

“I thank God for giving me salvation. I am thankful for God’s provision in food and drink. I pray for a husband who obeys God.”

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Amahoro Burundi

“I have a full stomach and so many blessings.
I am thankful that God has given me…

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