You Made It Possible!
Supporting Artisans and Women in Kenya and Tanzania during COVID-19
In December 2009, Rahel had an opportunity to travel to Kenya for three weeks through a study abroad program for her Master of Science degree in International Public Service from DePaul University. When considering why she chose Kenya, she admitted it was because she knew that it was only 6 hours away from her homeland, Tanzania, and more importantly, she would have an opportunity to visit her grandmothers.
Never in a million years did she think she would fall in love with Kenya. She visited several women’s cooperative organizations, but one organization stirred up something inside of her- Kibera Paper Project (KPP) an organization that makes greeting cards using recycled materials. Meeting the women of Kibera Paper Project changed Rahel's life and confirmed the one thing she had always known. In Africa with resources, determination, and hard work… it can be done. She ended her journey filled with both excitement and frustration. She was confused about the next step. While her trip to East Africa ended, her contribution towards the economic development in Africa was beginning. As an African woman, she understood her responsibility to support economic growth on the continent.
In early 2010, she began volunteering with KPP helping the organization sell their cards here in the United States. Within months of selling KPP's handmade cards to family members and friends, she realized that her involvement needed a strategic plan. As a result, the formulation of "ILAVA: It Can Be Done!" came into existence. ILAVA would become a socially responsible lifestyle brand that uses fashion to empower women and inspire change around the world; it would serve as a way to help women entrepreneurs in Kenya and Tanzania gain economic security.
As we are aware, over 3 million people have been infected with COVID19 globally and there have been over 230 thousand related deaths. We have been introducing into our daily norm terms like, "Social Distancing" and “Sheltering-in-Place." But not only is our terminology shifting, our thoughts and values around what "essential" means are also being challenged. More importantly, when we think of our business partners in Nairobi who due to their crowded living conditions, do not have the luxury of social distancing or shelter in place.
How does one practice social distancing within 12x12 feet living space?
How does one practice home in shelter where 80% of the population lives on day-to-day labor and hand-to-mouth?
Shopping for 2 weeks supplies is not an option.
Thus, the spread of Coronavirus is inevitable.
To celebrate Mother's Day 2020 ILAVA turned its focus towards its very first partner, Kibera Paper Project where it all started.
In partnership with another socially responsible brand, INAIVU we:
Distributed three months of food and essential goods to a total of 20 families.
Together with our partner Msichana Initiative, we distributed 1,000 masks to women in the Market in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania as a protection measure for coronavirus transmission.
Provided payroll to our seamstress and tailors through the end of June, and remain confident that we will be able to continue to doing so.
Every time you shop with ILAVA, or you donate to ILAVA Gives Back, you're a part of the contribution towards economic and social changes for those who have been left behind.
IT CAN BE DONE!!!