We haven’t journeyed to Kenya yet (it is on our lists!), but it is a place that has mesmerized us since the early days of Threads Worldwide. The country is the gateway to the savannah and sought-after safari trips full of lions, elephants, and giraffes. But more importantly, it is home to a very special Artisan Partner group. This Artisan Partner group handcrafts our beloved Mara Earrings, Victoria Bracelet, and the Paka Necklace. These Artisan women are highly skilled, and make each pair of earrings, bracelets, and necklaces with perfection. They also happen to be deaf.
Kenya has an estimated unemployment rate of 85% among the deaf community, and unfortunately, few will have access to opportunities to discover their potential and earn a sustainable income. There are very few, if any, legal protections for people with disabilities in Kenya, and many employers are not willing to make accommodations to hire employees who lack full hearing and who communicate through sign-language.
The artisan group provides the women with an opportunity to learn jewelry making skills, discover their potential, feel prideful, and have a sense of belonging in a loving and nourishing environment. Through fair trade, many invest their earned wages in education for themselves and their children. The women are thriving.
In addition to the Mara Earrings, Victoria Bracelet, and Paka Necklace, Threads’ jewelry bags are also made by this Artisan Partner group. It’s stories like these that make us proud of the Threads Movement, created to change the way we shop. #ChooseArtisan over factory-made this holiday season, and share this beautiful story with your friends and family.
P.S.) Have you been to Kenya? We’d love to hear your travel stories!