Meet Monica

Meet the Women: Monica

“I’m grateful to be at Amani…you find sisters and they are able to pray for you, encourage you, and help you with what you are going through…”
Monica, KenyaWatch the video to hear more from Monica!

Meet the Women: Monica

Help us empower women like Monica!

3 ways you can help:
1. Share this video
2. Shop at amaniafrica.org
3. Host a box party
“Consider the blameless, observe the upright; there is a future for the man of peace.”
Psalm 37:37

147 Crosses


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Amani ya Juu the 147 Kenyans who lost their lives in a terrorist attack on the Garissa University College campus April 2nd.

We pray for their families and their loss; a loss to them, a loss to Kenya and the world.

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“Jesus’ message of love and reconciliation thrives in a climate where hostility, danger and martyrdom is present.”
Jim Denison

Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, and Toasted Pecan Scones from Revel Pastry Company

Check out this easy recipe from Revel Pastry Company in Chattanooga, TN! 

Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, and Toasted Pecan Scones from Revel Pastry Co

Brown Sugar, Cinnamon, & Toasted Pecan Scones 

Featured: Kitenge Napkin Set and Cow Horn Bowl from amaniafrica.org

This recipe is perfect for Mother’s Day breakfast in bed or a birthday at the office! 

2 cups all purpose flour 1 Tbls. baking powder 1⁄2 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. cinnamon

1/3 cup brown sugar
6 Tbls. cold unsalted butter, cubed 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted 1⁄2 cup heavy cream, plus 2 Tbls.
1 egg

Pre-heat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a half sheet pan with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and sugar. Cut in butter with a pastry blender, working quickly so as to avoid warming up the butter, until the mixture has the consistency of cornmeal and there are no large chunks of butter visible. Stir in the pecans. In a small bowl, whisk together the 1⁄2 cup heavy cream and egg until well combined. Pour egg and cream mixture over the dry ingredients and stir gently with a rubber spatula until just combined. Gather dough into a ball and knead gently two or three times until it all the crumbs are incorporated.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and pat into a disc about 8 inches in diameter and 3⁄4 – 1 inch thick. Cut the disc into 8 even wedges and place on prepared baking sheet. Brush the tops of the scones with heavy cream and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden brown and slightly firm to the touch. Allow to cool on the pan 10 minutes before serving.

Maggie-isms

Many visitors to Amani ya Juu in Kenya agree that their favorite experience is a warm, enthusiastic greeting from Maggie, who works in the boutique. Nearly every day for the last 15 years, Maggie has ushered people into the life of Amani with hugs.

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“What you do, no one else is going to do it. I always say, nobody’s going to replace who you are and what God created you to be. Maybe they can resemble you, but they cannot be exactly the kind of person God created you to be. There is that responsibility and that kind of mission god wants you to carry through.”

Maggie, Amani ya Juu

“(God) was preparing you and making a miracle so that you come and fulfill it. So that He can be glorified. Because He doesn’t change, and He doesn’t disappoint us. He carries us and he cares for us. For He knows what is good for us. He cannot disappoint us. He cannot.”

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“I always say, every challenge we get to our faith increases because that moment is when we say, ‘Lord I trust in you.'”

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“What I do I don’t do it to be known in the world. I do it to know, Lord, what I’m doing I do for you. I want other people to come to know who you are.”

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“We need each other. Because your ideas are different from mine.”

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“Lord, you know in my heart, I’m proud because you made me to be who I am, but I’m humble at your feet. Because I’m nothing without you, and I know what I’m going to do I want to glorify your name. You know why you’re using me like this.”

Maggie, Amani ya Juu

Shop Maggie’s favorite products online at amaniafrica.org!

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Girl Scouts and Amani ya Juu

Most of us know of the Girl Scouts for their most excellent cookies such as the crowd favorite thin mints, and for their outdoor education programs. But how much do we really know about the Women of Girl Scouts?

On March 12, 1912, in Savannah, Georgia,  a women by the name of Juliette Gordon gathered with 12 young girls for an official girl Scouts meeting. Juliette wanted opportunities for young girls to help them develop holistically. She felt they would best achieve this by taking them out of the house, and bringing them into nature.

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Global Girl Scouting continues the vision by promoting goodwill and friendship among the world’s children, leading them, in turn, to work toward world peace.

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Looks like Girl Scouts and Amani ya Juu have a lot in common!

Recently we interviewed one of our favorite volunteers, Elena Schwedwho works for Girl Scouts, about her volunteering experience with Amani…..

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How did you get connected with Amani ya Juu? Why did you decide to volunteer?  Sarah Sanford whose daughter works with the ladies in Amani; we both work at Girl Scouts and she asked if anyone was interested in helping out.  I responded :) 

What would you say to the women who produce our products at Amani centers in Africa?  Great quality products and the workmanship is phenomenal.

What would you say to others considering volunteering? It’s easy peasy :)

Do you have any tips for volunteers (general stuff party ideas, activities, food, etc)?  I have a wide variety of options.  Neighborhood watch group, parties, work, and I give platelets and take the goods to Blood Source.  I pretty much take them everywhere and am not afraid to ask anyone.  The worse that happens is they say, no.

What is your favorite part about volunteering? I get pretty excited when I am showing off all the beautiful wares.  The fact that everything is handmade is fantastic. No two items are the same :)

How many sales have you done? I have received 2 boxes but have had about 8 sales. 

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(photos from one of Elena’s box parties)

Amani loves our volunteers. There are several different ways you can Volunteer depending on your location and availability.

If you would like to volunteer by throwing a box party check out our FAQs to get yourself more familiar with just what all they entail. Then contact our volunteer coordinator at volunteer@amaniafrica.org

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If you live in the Chattanooga area and would like to help out at our warehouse contact Molly Gardner at shopchatt@amaniafrica.org.

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Or, if you happen to find yourself in Africa, please visit our Contact page to locate the information for the Amani center you wish to visit.

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Meet our Intern: Lindsay

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Name: Lindsay Weaver

School and Degree: Southern Adventist University. Masters of Science in Global Community Development.

Role at Amani: I am the Marketing and Resource Development intern. I work closely with the Marketing Director/Resource Development Coordinator to create blogs, manage social media posts, research promotional opportunities, assisting in various warehouse tasks, and providing support for donor relations.

What made you want to intern with Amani: I have spent time living and working with vulnerable women and children in East Africa. The culture feels like home to me, and it is my personal calling to continue to empower my brothers and sisters overseas. When I moved back to Chattanooga I started following Amani on facebook. I resonated with their mission and their beautiful handcrafted items reminded me of my time spent in Tanzanian markets. When I saw they were in need of an intern I jumped at the opportunity to learn from their development model. I’m very excited to be a part of this international team.

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(planting trees with a student in Bugar, Tanzania)

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(working with a womens sewing group Nyota Njema in Ayalalio, Tanzania)

Favorite Amani Product: West African Safari Quilt

Random Facts: My husband and I live in a “tiny house” that was built by my husbands company Wind River Custom Homes. Its 275 square feet of bliss, decorated with items from our travels, and was featured on the show Tiny House Nation.

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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.