Johari…… Beautiful Business Supporting Communities in Kenya
The Beautiful Business project has showcased a wide range of businesses, social enterprises and charitable organisations. What links them is their enthusiasm for supporting people and communities. This organisation is no different and is as equally as beautiful. This is Johari.
Johari, which means “something precious” in Swahili makes stylish, beautiful clothing and accessories that people love. Every item is handmade in Kenya by Social Enterprise, JohariDesigns; which allows vulnerable young women to learn life enhancing skills and gain greater economic opportunities. The young women undertake an 18 month curriculum at the JohariApprenticeshipCentre where they learn tailoring, jewellery making and business management. The students develop skills in fashion construction and print design which lead to employment at Johari Designs. The collections include ladies apparel, accessories, home-ware and children’s t-shirts. Johari products are sold through the Johari online store www.johari.co.uk and through a number of online retailers and boutiques mainly in the UK and Kenya.
Along with providing economic opportunities and employment, Johari Designs actively encourages the young women to develop their own designs. The team has regular brain storming sessions where they are asked to suggest new ideas to add to the existing Johari collections. The production managers regularly involve the young artisans in idea generation and concept development of new designs. This is an exciting activity that helps them to improve their creativity skills as well as build up on their overall design and production expertise. Some of the most popular products such as the Haki Necklace have been designed by the girls. Johari Designs explain……….
“The young people we work with have a very positive outlook on life and it is wonderful to see their confidence grow within such a short space of time as they build up their skill level. We have discovered a huge range of skills and talents within the local community and so utilize local businesses and other Social Enterprises at every opportunity. This includes printers who produce the screen prints used on many of our clothing designs, Mzuri Beads who supply the paper beads for our jewellery and Kawangware Street Children and Youth Project who produce our carrier bags. Our belief is communities thrive and develop where opportunities for self sufficiency exist or are created.”
They don’t just craft beautiful products as 100% of any profit made from the sale of Johari items is fed into the Miale Social Development Programmes, run by Johari Foundation, which was founded by David Sibbald in 2005. Johari
Foundation support child education and promote self sustainability in Kenya. Working at grass roots level it supports and helps vulnerable children and young adults take charge of their lives and build a positive future for themselves and their families. It’s aims are achieved through the building of social enterprise and development programmes. Families within Kibera and Kandara are benefitting from the long term support of Johari Foundation.
A Beautiful Story from a Beautiful Business……
“ My name is Ruth Wanjiru Peninah and I am 24 years old. I have been employed with Johari Designs from 2008 and my current role is sales and marketing. Before I joined Johari Designs I was stuck at home. Having not been able to go to secondary school I had nothing to do, life was difficult because I had a dream and goals but didn’t have anyone to support me. My mother didn’t have the money to allow me to go to school. Working for Johari Designs has changed my life completely. I have learnt so much from being here and it’s been a wonderful experience, I am now confident with my work and have learnt how to be responsible, independent and disciplined. My favourite aspect of my job is meeting new people, visiting lots of different shops and developing new designs. In five years time I want to have completed my secondary education and join a college course to further my career. I also want to continue working with Johari and continue to give my best every day. Thanks to Johari I am now in a full time job that I love, I’m going to school and I can feed my family.”
By wearing Johari you are empowering vulnerable young adults to build a living for themselves and their families. For more information about Johari or Johari Foundation please email or visit their websites. I’m sure they would be happy if you did.