International Women's Day: Elevating a Dream
I have spoken before about hearing the whispers of God to inspire the creation of Baskets and Beads. When we are called to act, it doesn't always mean that we have all of the resources necessary to do what we need to do right away. I went to Kenya for the first time with Pastor Steve and as we got to the village he told me that it was time for me to speak, to lead, to teach, to show the ladies just how powerful they are in the world. I looked at them with a keen eye to see their strengths and when I did that, I saw all the beautiful beadwork they did and it prompted me to purchase enough necklaces, baskets, and bracelets to fit in a suitcase and fly back.
It was International women's day the first time I spoke about creating Baskets and Beads at a Toastmasters event and as I stepped onto the stage and began to speak, my voice boomed through the room. After the event, I had a table set up in the back and before I could even get back there, the table was swarmed with listeners who wanted to support the artisans of Kenya. Some bought beads, others gave donations for my next trip and all of a sudden, I had a business. After making those sales, I started the non-profit and got certified as a fairtrade business.
As a fairtrade business, I had to make sure I was purchasing the products from the ladies at a fair and reasonable value before Baskets and Beads sold it to third parties. I needed more supplies after that 1 event. Before I knew about DHS or other ways to import goods internationally I tried to ship a box from Kenya to the states and they said it would cost 1200 bucks to get it here. I felt defeated as that would make the costs of doing this business prohibitive. As I prayed for a solution, a friend told me that they had a son in Nairobi and that they would be willing to take a suitcase full of beads home with them for a fraction of the cost. This act of kindness made it so Baskets and Beads was still in business.
When you have limited resources and a BIG IDEA, it is OK to ask for help. You never know who or what someone knows. I am often asking for help as we continue this journey together. Every time someone makes a purchase from the store, they are helping to support a tribe of over 30 women who handcraft the products you see in the store. In fact, I am still asking for help.
Now, that the borders are open, I am working on getting funds to support Operation Kenya 2022. I will be going there to provide a medical pavilion for an area that doesn't have medical support. I am collecting clothing for infants and small children and lastly, Operation Kenya will give the women an opportunity to go on a growth retreat where they will continue to learn about business together but also enjoy pampering themselves while seeing sights outside of the tribe. It is important to see the possibilities of what future growth provides and you can help me do that by making a small donation to the cause, right here.
Did you know that the ladies make purses! 1 of my favorites is the mini-clutch. It can be used as a stand-alone purse or it can be a wallet inside of a larger purse.