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Fair Trade Jewelry and Ethical Fashion

Stories of Hope in Kenya – Trades of Hope

by | Artisans, Stories of Hope

Empower Differently-Abled Artisans

In Kenya, nearly 44 million men, women, and children live in extreme poverty. Starvation, malnutrition, and poor healthcare are common and lead to many birth defects. Because many people in Kenya are superstitious and believe disabilities are caused by evil, babies born with disabilities are often abandoned, especially if they’re little girls. As adults, they’re rejected by society, making it hard to find work to support themselves and their families. (Read Time: 4 min.)

Trades of Hope partners with differently-abled Artisans in Kenya to give them opportunities to work in safe healthy environments and earn enough income to support themselves and their families. As members of this Artisan community, they also have access to safe housing, health care, education, and counseling.

The women we partner with are defying the odds! Your purchase of their handcrafted designs empowers these women to earn an income, overcome physical disabilities, and become independent and powerful members of their communities!

Fair Trade Jewelry

Job Skills Training and Dignified Income for Differently-Abled Artisans

Alice’s Story of Hope

Alice was born a healthy little girl, until brittle bone disease caused her to lose the use of her legs.

She endured years of discrimination and poverty.

Now, the income, wheelchair, and healthcare she receives as an Artisan are helping her become financially and physically independent.

“I was unhappy and discouraged. I didn’t know where my meal would come from. Now, I feel free. I feel like a person!” – Alice, Artisan in Kenya

Alice, Differently Abled Jewelry Artisan in Kenya

Syprine’s Story of Hope

Syprine, Differently Abled Artisan in Kenya with Trades of Hope founder, Gretchen

Syprine (left) with Trades of Hope founder, Gretchen (right)

Trades of Hope founder, Elisabeth, describes Syprine – who met her husband in this workshop – as, “a sweet spitfire who loves to laugh!

In 2016, through the help of funds raised by her employer and coworkers, Syprine underwent treatment for cervical cancer.

“I am thankful for my work, my two-room house with an inside toilet, my wheelchair, and my promotion that increased my salary.

I very much enjoy working with many, many, many friends who are my family. I am trying hard to ensure my son and daughter will complete school.”

– Syprine

“I trust God will sustain my path and my family… and that I can continue to provide so my children can go to college and get good jobs.” When asked about her health now and her future, she smiled, “I can manage. I have faith!”

– Syprine, Artisan in Kenya

Fatuma’s Story of Hope

Being a disabled woman, getting employment – especially with no basic education – is next to impossible. I joined this workshop as a trainee student and excelled in jewelry making. After a comprehensive training for three months, I was officially employed and started earning an income as a jewelry Artisan. As an Artisan, I’ve been able to earn almost three or four times more than the government recommended minimum wage.

Through regular salary I’ve been able to raise up my beautiful daughter in a very stable environment, I’ve been able to provide all her basic needs including education, medical care, healthy food and even celebrations.

I can also support my other siblings and my mother. I can ensure that they are also able to live a comfortable life in the rural area.

I love working with my colleagues who have become very close friends I consider them my brothers and sisters.

Thanks to Trade of Hopes customers who have been able to help me live a dignified life. I’m glad that there are people who appreciate my skills and greatly contribute to my very existence!

 – Fatuma, Artisan in Kenya

Fatuma’s Story of Hope

“I’ve always been interested in work done by hand. When the opportunity presented itself in jewelry making, I was very happy.

I’m now a qualified and experienced Artisan in making jewelry. I‘ve been able to educate my two children through college.

Both are now employed and no longer depend on me. I’m happy that I don’t have to beg in the streets like disabled persons who’ve not had the same opportunity.” – Fatuma, Artisan in Kenya

Fatuma has even been able to support her six brothers and sisters and save part of her income to invest in her dream of owning her own business.

Mwanamtama’s Story of Hope

“I come from a very humble background. When community workers found me in my rural home, they advised my parents to allow them to take me to a rehabilitation center for corrective surgery in both my legs. But the surgeon advised that it wasn’t feasible. Too much time had passed.

After becoming an Artisan, my life has changed!

I don’t have to beg in the streets. Without my work – maybe I would be dead by now – from the stress of my uncertain future.

Because of my work, I can educate my children, live in a decent home, and socialize with my colleagues.

I’d like to build a permanent house in my village and start my own business so that when I retire, my life is still fulfilling!” – Mwanamtama, Artisan in Kenya

Peter’s Story of Hope

“Trades of Hope has helped us so much to improve our livelihoods by purchasing our products. My favorite memory as an Artisan is when I was trained for over six months by the older Artisans. It really help me so much, because I can take care of my family’s needs.

Peter, Differently Abled Jewelry Artisan in Kenya

I am the father of three boys.

Being paid on time helps me support my family.

I have risen to different positions during my stay in this workshop.

From an Artisan, to a cashier and now, Domestic Marketing Manager.

I can use my social skills to realize my dreams!

My favorite part of my workday is making new friends.” – Peter

“My dream is to find more customers to support our workshops, so we can employ more persons with disablilities.”

– Peter, Kenya

What would you like to see these Artisans make next?

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Kathy Thomas

Kathy Thomas

Kathy Thomas is an inspirational writer with a passion for helping women discover and celebrate their unique gifts and abilities. Kathy is part of the Communications Team at Trades of Hope focusing on Artisan advocacy.