I am so excited for this post.
I’ve been scheming with some wonderful women for the past while, and I’m just
a little bit giddy to announce a new series on the blog: Beautiful Ideas Help the World.
Feature One: The Nakate Project: Uganda, Africa & Brooklyn, New York
Enter the beautiful beaded bracelet giveaway by leaving a comment; read below for the full story.
How do you enter to win this Mkole Wrap Bracelet debuting soon in Nakate’s Fall 2012 line?
I’m not a fan of gimmicky give-aways, so I’m not requiring tweets or follows or whatnot, but I’m providing links to all the relevant Nakate information, and I’d love to invite you to follow the project’s story.
To enter the contest, simply leave a comment below answering one of the following questions. (Leave a second comment answering the other question if you’d like to enter twice.)
A) If you could visit any country/region in Africa in the next year, where would you go and why?
B) In the spirit of Nakate’s tagline, “Where will you take Africa?” – Where do you live and where would you wear this beautiful piece?
Giveaway is open to anyone, anywhere. (That means all of you lovely international readers as well!) All you need is a mailing address. Winner will be chosen at random and notified by email. If winner does not respond within 48 hours, a new winner will be selected and notified. See here for full giveaway terms and details.
Giveaway closes at 12:01am Pacific Standard Time (that’s Oregon!), on Wednesday, October 17th. So…you can wait around until just about midnight on October 16th to enter, or you can leave your name and answer below right now…
So what’s the scoop with this whole Beautiful Ideas Help the World bit?
Starting this month, I’ll begin featuring a handful of my favorite organizations
impacting lives all over the globe through beauty, creativity, and entrepreneurship.
The bonus? (Besides more lovely photos and stories for the blog?)
I’m hosting no-strings-attached giveaways to share travel souvenirs (so-to-speak) with you.
I love the internet. The great web of electronic connections yielded a new friendship when I started following Shanley Knox and watching her develop The Nakate Project (thanks to the Twitter recommendations from two other beautiful women I know: Jodi Ettenberg and Roxanne Krystalli).
I read posts. We exchanged emails. I quickly grew to respect the way she gives herself deeply and truly to high heels and fashion AND life-altering community development work, retaining credibility in both worlds without sacrificing heart. Her project birthed out of time spent in Uganda, is based on her own profound ties with women living in the midst of the AIDS crisis in the village of Kakooge.
Her story impressed me on so many levels. “Rather than asking for donations from people that had never seen the things I encountered in Africa,” she, explains how she committed to investing in economic growth of individual women in the Kakooge village by founding a company to sell artisan-crafted goods to buyers all over the world, adding value and creating a sustainable profit stream for these special women in Uganda.
Over this past year, I’ve watched through my digital window as she continues to pour blood, sweat, tears, breathing life into Nakate, and my admiration deepens.
Nakate’s Core Values resonate with me:
We believe that profit is a mechanism for generosity. Profit is a tool…
We believe that the creation of goods other people value does something for the producer of the product. We view our Ugandan artisans as talented artists…
We believe in adding value…As an organization we could get a big donor, and not think about this anymore. If we were to do that the requirement of our organization to produce sustained value would disappear…
We believe generating sustainable income is far better than a quick fix. We are empowering women, and that is intentional. Women with businesses change the local political environment for the better, and we are also helping them start their own businesses in other areas by working with us.
Plus, Shanley lists watching documentaries and cooking tacos with her brothers as serious pastimes.
I love this girl.
I love her work.
And I want you to love Nakate, too.
In April, Shanley shared about hosting her Ugandan business partner, Agnes, on a visit to California. Read it and catch a glimpse of her lovely, evolving life’s story.
I had a moment recently on this trip. Ted and I stopped at the the World’s Highest Bungy in South Africa on our twoOregonians Tour the Cape escapades. No, we didn’t jump, but my heart leapt when I saw Charity smile at me the second time.
Charity is a woman who lives a few kilometers away from one of the region’s busiest parking lots. She sets up her wares, selling day after day to earn money to sustain her family, offering tourists like me wooden carvings, leather bracelets, and beaded recycled-paper necklaces. I bought one necklace on our way east toward Jeffereys Bay, and a few days later on our return drive west, I asked Ted to stop back in at the parking lot a second time.
I was so pleased to find her again! She’d made me a kind deal on my first string of colorful beads, and I wanted to snag another string or two to bring home for a few special people.
These necklaces are for sale in shops all over South Africa, but I was most excited to give my money directly to Charity.
I can’t bring a souvenir home for every dear friend.
I can’t solve global poverty.
I can’t share every tale I’ve encountered or fund-raise for every project I believe in.
I can celebrate beautiful ideas in this space and broadcast their stories and invite you to join in, too.
Nakate is soon releasing their Fall 2012 line of Ugandan-made jewelry, and I’m excited to be giving away one of these beautiful pieces as a little echo of my own favorite souvenirs from South Africa and my memories of Charity.
“My vision was always that these pieces would serve as a reminder that, no matter where you are, the world is much bigger than your direct experience with it – and it is possible to take that reality with you, wherever you go.” -Shanley Knox
Beaded recycled-paper Mkole Wrap Bracelets from Nakate
This summer, Shanley shared a beautiful post about mementos from travel…
When I was a little girl, my father fascinated me with the stories surrounding items he had from other countries. In his office, there was a hand carved tiger, a Japanese garden stool, a bottle collection, a Tiki man, and above them all, a National Geographic atlas where he used to show me the countries where he had purchased the things I loved to touch and ask about. “Here is Okinawa,” he’d say. “There’s Germany.” Sometimes we talked about Hawaii. Other days we talked about Mexico and Brazil.
As I grew older, my fascination with stories from overseas grew, and my grandfather and father honored my interest with gifts – a bottle here, a set of Japanese farming shoes there. They helped me begin a collection of global pieces that were connected to the stories of my father’s family, and their travels from before I was born. What I loved most about these pieces was the way they reminded me that the world is bigger than my direct experience with it, and I can live in the light of that reality, no matter where I am…
For all you traveling around the world with me this year in my digital suitcase, I’m excited to offer you the chance to wear a little piece of Africa, and carry a few new stories in your heart.
What’s in it for me? The chance to share a little bit of my world with you!
What’s in it for you? A new piece of jewelry and a connection to the women of Kakooge, Uganda.
What’s in it for Nakate? Hopefully a few more excited fans of their lovely fashion pieces and a few more supporters of their long term community development work.
This post is part of my Beautiful Ideas Help the World giveaway series featuring organizations I personally love, impacting lives around globe through beauty, creativity, and entrepreneurship. No tweets or follows or gimmicks are required to participate, but please consider keeping in touch and following along on our respective journeys: