Birthplace: Kisumu, Kenya
We met John in late 2015 when we kickstarted our company in an Internally Displaced People Camp (IDP) that produced our wooden belts. John was the one to train more than 10 youths to make and perfect the belts. He himself is part of a bigger workshop in the Kibera Slum adjacent to the capital of Nairobi. We began producing Jewellery with him in late 2016.
JOHN IS A LOVING FATHER OF ONE GIRL AND TWO LITTLE BOYS. rare is the time YOU WILL meet him WITHOUT A BIG SMILE ON HIS FACE. JOHN IS THE OLDEST IN OUR TEAM AND THE ONE WITH THE LONGEST EXPERIENCE IN THE FASHION/ARTISAN BUSINESS. EVER SINCE THE TRAINING IN 2015, JOHN HAS BECOME CLOSE FRIENDS WITH US AND our manager JAMES. TOGETHER THEY HELP US NAVIGATE OUR WAY FORWARD, helping us UNDERSTAND IMPORTANT FUNDAMENTALS and CONDITIONS FOR WORKING WITHIN THEIR WIDER COMMUNITIES.
TODAY we are in the process of moving his workshop to his hometown of Kisumu in order to empower his own communities in the more rural areas of Kenya. PLACES where unemployment is high and foreign investment is low compared to the capital of Nairobi.
IN HiS OWN WORDS:
"My interest in becoming an artisan and designer began in the very early stages of my life. I started working as an artisan with the aim of doing waste management in the Kibera Slum. The project was initiated by local artisans and the support of the community in the early Nineties. It has grown to impact more than 300 people in the society, especially the most vulnerable and less fortunate.
Almost 95% of what we are producing uses recycled materials and in return it has turned into a sustainable income generating activity through the means of fair trade.
MOST PEOPLE IN THE WORKSHOP ARE like-minded artisans like myself, Together we SHARe our WORK AND MACHINery based on our capabilities and partner WITH DIFFERENT LOCAL AND INTERNATIONAL BRANDS. THe workshop aims to help youths in the community by strengthening their creative capabilities and educating them about certain challenges in the business. THESE INCLUDE: Improving poor working conditions, exploitation by middle men and gender parity.
In 2015 I met HABA HABA and Since then I have worked closely with them designing and crafting jewellerY. Together with the brand we are constantly venturing into more sustainable means of production looking to empower my communities back home."