Bangladesh Artisans

yes 0There’s no doubt that the work I get to be a part of at Ten Thousand Villages is inspiring. And yet, as with any job, from time to time, we can all use a tangible reminder about why we do what we do.

In September 2013, we invited Moses and Esther from Kaki Creations in Kenya to join us for our national store manager workshops. They shared stories about life in Kenya and the good work they’re doing there. It was an amazing opportunity for staff to meet some of our artisan partners, and to hear firsthand about the business they’re building and the contributions they’re making to strengthen their community.

yes 1I think it’s safe to say that every single one of us was mesmerized by the skill and speed with which Moses demonstrated how to turn a rough piece of wood into a beautiful animal carving. The photos provide a sense of the steps in the process, but unfortunately, don’t do justice to the creativity and skill required and craftsmanship involved.

Even with how incredible it was to watch Moses turn a chunk of wood into a piece of art, the highlight of my time with them actually occurred outside their presentations. We had the privilege of hosting Moses, Esther and their two-month-old son in our home for lunch before they headed home.

Over a meal of homemade soup and fresh bread, Moses told us about seeing too many friends and family members who had skills, but lacked opportunities to provide adequately for their families. Sadly, this inability to earn a steady income and plan for their futures often led people to despair, and resulted in many turning to crime.

He abandoned a successful teaching career to establish a carving workshop – and the rest, as they say, is history.

Moses2Moses has a dream of growing his business and continuing to invest in Kaki Creations, so that he can employ more and more individuals. He loves playing a role in helping people make the transition from dependence and hopelessness to self-sufficiency. And even beyond that, he takes pride in the ways his employees become able to take greater control of their lives. For example, many Kenyans are not accustomed to earning a steady income, so many of his employees have never learned the basic skills of budgeting and saving. Moses and Esther therefore teach their new employees how not to squander their earnings, and manage it in ways that will benefit their families.

yes 4Just as we witnessed the zebra emerging from the block of wood in Moses’ hands, I could sense hope emerging out of despair in the lives of those who’ve been touched by Moses and Esther.

It’s an honour to count them among our talented partners, and to support their vision of developing their business and providing meaningful, dignified work for many individuals in their community.


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Yoga Giraffe Ornament Zebra Resting Stool Corky Cheetah Bottle Topper

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