Introducing Chikondi

This week marked another momentous step in the skills training program here in Lusaka, Zambia. All ten of our CiH women stepped beyond designers and producers to become businesswomen.  They created the first batch of beautiful fabric bracelets from traditional African chitenge, with love, joy, and according to the group-decided quality standards.  As all 80 bracelets are spread out on my table this very moment, I know that these aren’t just bracelets. They’re not even just money. They’re beauty. Each bracelet represents a story, a life of a woman here in Zambia who sings with her friends during each workday, who laughs and rejoices in triumphs, who has her friend to rely on in the tougher days, who sacrifices herself for the survival of her family, who takes on each day of life with joy. This bracelet here is an expression of the hope found here despite the difficulties and discrimination faced by these widows, single mothers, vulnerable women in this slum community. Each bracelet is different; it’s unique, just like the ten incredible women I’ve had the joy of getting to know. I look forward to sharing their words with you over the next weeks and months, and of how your support is creating a ripple effect of betterment throughout this community, one that has gone unnoticed and uncared about for too many years.

When we were developing our product line a couple of weeks back, everyone decided they wanted a Nyanja name to represent these bracelets and other handmade items. And the name they decided on couldn’t be more representative of this organization. It’s Chikondi (chee-cone-dee). And it means love. From our women to your homes, our women wanted to share with you the love they’ve felt from CiH and from each other, expressing that there cannot be hope without love as it is our motivation for every day of life.

Our beautiful Chikondi bracelets will be up for sale shortly so check back for those along with more exciting updates along the way. There is always much to share. Until then, here is a short clip from the ten women of Clothed in Hope: Elina, Doreen, Jessy, Tresa, Margaret, Given, Bridget, Emeli, Pauline, and Carol. Check it out: We are Clothed in Hope

We are Clothed in Hope, and let’s live today in Chikondi.

[With this great opportunity and huge steps forward comes great need. We just purchased 4 more professional-grade machines this week. Our commitment to quality for you and better opportunity for our women brings higher costs to our program. With some unexpected expense, we could really use your help. The cost difference in purchasing these professional machines instead of our budgeted cheaper (easily broken and poor quality) machines is just over $1,000. If you would like to help further our sewing training program, you can donate directly on this site. All donations are tax-deductible and are greatly appreciated by each and every woman here with a huge “Zikomo” (thank you)!]

With Chikondi, Amy & Elina, Doreen, Jessy, Tresa, Margaret, Given, Bridget, Emeli, Pauline, Carol