Life has always been difficult for Jennifer, who is blind. Job opportunities for a disabled woman in Kenya are slim. But things became much, much worse when she was diagnosed with HIV. Employers shunned her. Without work, she fell into the deepest levels of poverty--unable to afford food or clothing. Disabled and sick, things seemed utterly hopeless.

For the 1.6 million people in Kenya living with HIV/AIDS, this situation is all too common. Even when medical treatment is available, the stigma of HIV and AIDS makes employment opportunities hard to come by. Many times, even families and friends turn their backs.

For Jennifer, though, the story has a happy ending. She found medical treatment for her HIV through IU School of Medicine’s AMPATH program and she gained employment with Imani Workshops, one of the few organizations in Kenya offering employment opportunities to people with HIV/AIDS and disabilities. 

A fair trade organization started with support from the Indiana Institute of Global Health, Imani Workshops was created to provide hope and sustainable income opportunities for this marginalized population, particularly women, who are most at risk. In conjunction with medical treatment, Imani Artisans are provided with skills training and employment opportunities that give them a second chance at life. These artisans create beautiful handmade products, including jewelry, pottery, handbags and more. Jennifer is now a skilled  at crafting intricate Baku bowls made of handmade paper and decorated with intricate beadwork. 

“My life has changed tremendously,” she says. “I hope and pray that Imani workshops continue to retain my services.” 

While the  products of Imani Workshops are highly marketable in the U.S, they currently lack the resources to establish a sales presence here.  Without this vital connection, workshop sales cannot thrive.

Global Gifts is partnering with Imani Workshops to build a U.S. market for their goods... and we need your help. 

Global Gifts is seeking donors to help with initial costs related to building a market for their products in the US.  This will result in providing more employment for Jennifer and other women like her.  Our goal is to help Imani Workshops become a long-term self-sustaining organization.  

Read the full proposal hereFollow the story on our blog, Fair Trade 101: A Journey with Imani

The total estimated cost for the first year is $89,500. Global Gifts has committed to funding half of these costs and raising the remaining funds through donors like you.  To raise this, we are asking for your support. Donations in any amount--from $5 to $5,000 help us achieve our goal to support this worthy artisan group and help more HIV positive artisans like Jennifer find sustainable, meaningful income opportunities

Your donations are tax deductible and 100% secure through PayPal. Please donate now.