Our Story

 

Who we are –

Brighter Communities Worldwide is an Irish registered charity working since 2002 in partnership with communities in rural Kenya.  We believe in a world where strong, healthy communities can thrive, building sustainable livelihoods and brighter futures.   The majority of the population where we work are subsistence farmers living in remote rural parts of the county.  Here there is no access to basic needs like running water or electricity and the majority of the population are living below the poverty line.

The main focus of our work is on the key areas of need – health, education, access to clean water and increasing household incomes. 

This year COVID-19 is a massive threat to the health of the people we work with and we are responding with the basic essentials of soap, water containers, information on safeguarding against transmission, training of local volunteers to inform their villages.  Alongside that what is termed the ‘shadow pandemic’ is having a devastating impact on children as schools are closed, girls and women as gender based violence has increased, mothers and babies as health services are over-stretched dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks. 

Our shop –

Every year we sell crafts made in Kenya as part of our efforts to raise funds to support our programmes in Kenya.  Thank you for visiting our shop, we hope you like what you find and we really appreciate your support!

Who makes the crafts –

The crafts we sell are handmade in Kenya by James Njoro and John Maina and other artisans and craft makers they collaborate with.

James Njoro is an innovative young craftsman originally from Turi, near the Masai Mara but now working in Nairobi. He is the fourth of eight children and despite not being able to afford a secondary education, he now runs his own successful craft business.

James says “when I was in class four in a Christian primary school, I was taught by a volunteer from France who showed me a nativity set which really caught my imagination as a child. When I finished primary school, I could not go to secondary school as my family could not afford to pay school fees.   But I still had the memory of the nativity in my head and I decided to create my own design.  My family grow bananas and as the tree grows the bark peels – this is the material I used on my first design and continue to use now”.

James has several designs of nativity sets now developed and he sells from a shop he rents in Nairobi.  He employs other craft makers during the busiest times and sources crafts from others to sell in his shop. 

We have been partnering with James and supporting his business since 2014.   James is a man who believes this world is full of hope.  His continues to find ways to improve his business as he provides for his wife and baby.  He dreams of returning to education and says that “education is a powder and when mixed well it provides a base for someone to develop.”

 

James Njoro craft maker standing by banana tree with the bark he uses in making his crafts

 

John Maina was born at Kahurura in Londiani as one of a family of 5 boys and 1 girl and he is the second eldest in his family.  John works in Nairobi making Kenyan craft items  with his wife Mary Nyawira Kamau and selling to crafts shops in Nairobi.   His signature piece is the set of 5 beaded pieces including 3 wise men, Mary, baby Jesus and Joseph.  They design and makes many different lines and collaborates with other craft makers in Nariobi.

 John’s family were forced to flee from rural Londiani to Nairobi (approx. 230km) in 2007 when tribal clashes following a general election and many lives were lost.  John and his family struggled to make a new start in Nairobi.

John was number one in his class when he was forced to drop out of school in class 5.  Despite his lack of formal education, he has learned a lot from life and put that back into his business.  He supported his younger siblings through school and supported is mother to return to her home in Londiani in 2012.

We have been partnering with John and buying his products since 2015.  John says that God has played a huge role in bringing his life to where it is today and his faith is very important to him.   .

 

The crafts you buy From Kenya with Love support the artisans who produce them and the families they support before the profits we make support the community programmes we operate across Kericho county, Kenya.

Brighter Communities Worldwide is a registered charity in Ireland - Charity Regulatory Authority Number CRA20059583 and Revenue Commissioners charity number CHY16505