Nairobi’s artisans benefiting children of Ngong Road

Shopping in Nairobi is an experience. Even the most experienced may become somewhat overwhelmed by the sights and sounds. Like a impressionist painting, the lines appear blurred. Food, textiles, lumber are intermixed with little sense of order. Not to mention the cocophany of music, hawkers and traffic swirling from every which direction. A kaleidoscope spinning before one’s eyes —- But, one filled more with mud and grit than bright sparkles of light. With mud underfoot and seemingly all about, it’s admittedly a bit grungy.

Paula and Karen, Friends of Ngong Road Founder and Board Member respectively, were visiting Nairobi one day in 2009, taking in the sights and sounds during one of their visits with the children served by Ngong Road Children Association. Amidst all the activity, there appeared a small child. Shy and unimposing, the little girl took Karen’s hand and led her to some handicrafts her mother made. The crafts stood out from the surroundings. Bright. Cheerful. Celebrations of beauty around us.

The Craft Ladies know how to bring brightness to any decor.

Karen was overjoyed. Seeing the craftsmanship, beauty and value in these pieces, she bought what she could. Brought them home. And began offering the beautiful crafts at the Friends of Ngong Road “Annual Gatherings.” The profits have been offering substantial income to the organization that ensures children from families afflicted by HIV/AIDS in Nairobi are able to attend school and transform their lives.

Of course, it wasn’t long before we began to get to know the artisans, now affectionately known as “The Craft Ladies.”

They are appreciative of the sales to Friends of Ngong Road, for both how it has created a market for their work that has generated income for their 10 families, and that the proceeds benefit the Ngong Road Children’s Association. Today, The Craft Ladies donate 10 percent of their revenues to Ngong Road.

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