Here’s the second installment of a series of stories from Ten Thousand Villages. This story features Undugu Society of Kenya (USK) and its involvement in handicraft and Fair Trade Production. This movement has not only helped the economy but helped to promote a healthier community for kids and their families.
The Undugu Society of Kenya takes a particularly insightful approach to their work with street children. It all begins, they believe, with the family. Healthy children require a healthy community and the capacity for growth. Parents who are reliably employed are better able to provide for their families, meaning that fewer children are forced into life on the streets.
Undugu Fair Trade, the organization’s handicraft division, provides employment for over 900 families who produce stone carvings and baskets, the income of which helps to break the cycle of poverty and reduce the number of people flocking to cities. Surplus from handicraft sales also supports programs like formal school sponsorship for children.
Undugu, whose name is a Kiswahili word meaning “solidarity and brotherhood,” is the leading rehabilitation agency for street children in Africa. The group was established in 1973 by Father Arnold Grol, a missionary priest from Tanzania, in response to the overwhelming number of street children living in urban areas and the lack of government programs to help them.
The USK’s involvement in handicraft and Fair Trade production is an integral part of its strategy to empower the poor and ensure the overall well-being of children. By providing artisans with regular market information and product development training, Undugu Fair Trade helps enhance their business potential while ensuring that the rights of children are not compromised.
Undugu Fair Trade has created an integrated community development model adapted for urban poor areas, encompassing programs such as enterprise development, credit programs, job creation, education, life skills training, community health and infrastructure improvement.
When communities are empowered by employment, it is often the children who benefit most significantly. The USK works tirelessly to provide the capacity for reliable income that keeps children in homes and off of the streets.
It is in the shelter of each other that the people live.
Thank you to Ten Thousand Villages for providing this story. Visit Ten Thousand Villages on West Broadway starting this Sunday! Mention L’Arche and 10% of your purchase will be donated to the L’Arche Foundation! It’s never too early to start your Christmas shopping.