Kioo Lulu Jewelry
Kioo Lulu, which in Swahili means “glass beads”, is the name of an income generating project that was started in 2011 for the benefit of New Life Africa International’s work among children, youth and women in Nakuru, Kenya.
The purpose of this glass jewellery project is to give more women a respectable job and at the same time generate an economic support for NLAI’s work. At the Kioo Lulu workshop work is only given to the most socially marginalised women. Many of the employed women have never attended school and have therefore often had to settle for extremely low incomes by working as a washerwoman or a street vendor. Some come from a life as a prostitute on the street. The women employed at Kioo Lulu can bring their small children with them to work, where they take turns caring for them. In this way they save the expenses related to childcare. NLAI will sponsor their children once they begin in school, and in that way their children also get a hope for the future.
In co-operation with NLAI, Marianne Sommer came to Kenya to start a glass bead workshop at the NLAI centre and to teach a group of women both from the crisis centre and from the local area about jewellery production. Marianne had raised money in Denmark for the start-up of the project and had bought a lot of materials, which she brought with her to Kenya. After a training period of just two weeks, the group of women were able to continue with the production of the glass jewellery, rubber bracelets, paper necklaces etc. with a view to sell. NLAI is so grateful to Marianne for her hard work starting this project, which gives hope to many women and their children’s future.
At Kioo Lulu they produce all the glass beads themselves with the help of gas burners. The women then use the beads to make different kinds of jewellery and other jewellery is made using paper and bicycles tubes. The women are creative, talented and very patient. They rise to the occasion and it is clear to see how their self-esteem is enhanced, when they discover their own abilities. They put pride into their work, which they know not many others in Kenya do. As all beads and jewellery are handmade, no two will be the same, thereby making every piece of jewellery unique.
At Kioo Lulu they have also started producing small weaved bags, made primarily from coffee bags. NLAI is grateful to Esther Friss Nielsen for coming to Kenya to teach the women this skill.
NLAI has already established contact with several large tourist hotels and shops in Kenya, where different textile products from the garment making school are being sold. Now the handmade jewellery and bags from Kioo Lulu are also being sold in these shops and when Susanne and Leif Madsen (Founders and Directors of NLAI) go on meeting trips to Denmark and other countries, the items are also sold there. Remember that when buying this unique and beautiful jewellery, you encourage a woman, enhance her self-esteem and help NLAI financially. In this way many women and children will be given the chance of receiving help at the crisis centre and in their daily lives outside the centre.