Meet our Artisans

Grace and Able is nothing without its Artisans. They are the people who enable Grace and Able. While our Artisans are busy making your favourite pieces, they are receiving training and learning knowledge that lasts a lifetime.

Did you know your purchase enables our Artisans to earn more than what they would be earning in another job? If indeed, they even had opportunity for other jobs, as many don’t. The opportunity for them to get paid a fair and competitive wage for their skilled handcrafted work  is a unique and life-altering opportunity for most of them. This extra income enables them to feed their families, put their children in school, or even expand their own business so they can employ others in their local community.

 Get to know the person behind your purchase and read more about the Artisans who made your jewellery by flipping the image below.

Our Ugandan Artisans

Winnie

Growing up in a polygamous family was hard. Then when her father dies, there was not much to eat and very little income. Winnie’s older sister took her in and paid Winnie’s school fees until she had a family of her own. Passionate about empowering single mothers, Winnie is our Ugandan with the vision to see mother in her community earning income and families provided for. She is married to Ibra and they have two children.

Lovincer

Lovincer is a mother to 10 as well as a kind and nurturing grandmother. She lost her father at a young age, and continued with schooling only for a short time. Money was scarce and responsibility heavy. She met her husband, a pastor, when she was young and is still  married to him. Her happiness is to support and empower other women and enjoys the opportunity to contribute to her large family.

Olive

Olive lost her mother when she was young and grew up with her step-mother instead. She was unable to continue her schooling past primary. Now Olive is a fun and vibrant mother of two but her husband has left her and she provides for her children on her own.

Harriet

Growing up holds happy memories for Harriet but being one of so many meant money was always tight. Now as a married mother to 6, she works to provide income for family and help meet the need for bills like school fees. Harriet always greets you with a warm smile and works hard for her opportunity.

Susan

Susan is quiet but hard working. Earn her approval and she will flash you her stunning smile. Now a single mother providing for her 5 children,  her husband was an alcoholic who left her no support, she provides for her children and works hard to ensure they stay in education. She dreams of a brighter future for her children.

Robert

Life has been hard for Robert. After growing up in an orphanage, he thought he was alone. As an older child they found his father and he was reunited. The orphanage was able to support him through his schooling. But with work scarce and unemployment levels high, he has not been able to find work or have the money to continue his education at a higher level. He joined our craft group to begin savings towards his further education and hopes one day to marry and have children of his own.

Ruth

Growing up Ruth lost her father at a young age, raised by her mother they struggled and eventually could no longer pay the school fees. A mother to 4, her husband died in 2002. Heartbroken but determined, Ruth has always looked for employment to provide for her family and meet the schooling needs. Joining the craft group has meant a stable income and certainty for her children.

Peace

At 26 years old, Peace is remarkable and resourceful. She grew up with parents and ended in her schooling half way through high school. But the following years haven’t been easy. Trying her hand at many jobs, she joins us as  single mother, needing to work to keep her child in education. She dreams to save for her own business and creating a different future for her child.

Hajjara

Hajjara is 25 years old, and although her parents are alive she did not grow up with them. Like has always been a hard toil for her, and her shy, reserved character belies her incredible determination and inner strength. She is married with one child and works to contribute to the rent. She dreams of having her own child.

Our Kenyan Artisans

Ann

Ann is a 31-year-old wife, and mother to a 3-year-old daughter. Like many Deaf people, she was shunned and made to feel useless by those closest to her while growing up. She found it hard to find a job before she gained work as an artisan. Since her employment, Ann has gained a sense of pride and dared to hope. She says of her family “Now they are aware that being a deaf person does not make someone useless.

Lucy

Lucy became deaf at the age of five due to illness. As a teenager, without the opportunity to continue in school, she left home for Nairobi. She found work at a factory and is where she met her husband, with whom she had two daughters. The marriage did not last, and Lucy’s heart was broken when her husband demanded custody of the children. After three years of unemployment, Lucy now hopes to make enough money to support her and regain custody of her daughters. Her work as an artisan has given her a start toward that goal and hope for a bright future.

Virginia

Virginia grew up a deaf person in poverty. Lack of money and hearing meant she faced challenges in completing school and finding employment. She was constantly being discriminated against for being deaf. Today, Virginia thanks God for the opportunity to work with our Kenyan team because they have provided dignifying work that pays a fair wage. She takes pride in her work because she is able to support her three daughters, including twin girls she and her husband welcomed last year.

Susan

Susan is the single mother of a two-year-old son. Being a single mother is never easy, especially at the tender age of 24. Susan had been jobless her entire life, aside from briefly collecting garbage for recycling. Training as an artisan has provided Susan with an opportunity to do skilled work. She is able to support herself and her son, which brings her hope. Susan feels blessed and prays for her work to “continue bearing many fruits.” She hopes her son will accept her as a single mother as he grows, and she has dreams he will become a professional or a doctor.

Sispina

Born and raised in western Kenya, Sispina is one of 12 siblings. Over the course of her childhood, four of her sisters passed away, and Sispina lost her hearing after an illness at the age of 8. In the hopes of getting married, she ended up pregnant and ultimately found herself in Nairobi with two children and no work and no husband. Working with our Kenyan team has given her confidence as a single mom, as she sees other women in similar circumstances thriving, and she now dares to hope for the future.

Evelyne

Born Deaf, Everlyne is a young mother who recently lost both her parents in a road accident. Having experienced significant trauma and violence in recent years, she is working hard to raise her child, after losing her twin at birth. On a day-to-day basis, Everlyne is very quiet and withdrawn, but when given the opportunity to be creative, she lights up. Taking great pride in her work as an artisan, Everlyne is also an enthusiastic photographer whenever she can get her hands on a camera. Watching her take pictures is like seeing someone come alive for the first time.

Elijah

Elijah moved to Nairobi to find opportunity and help provide for his family – 1 brother and 3 sisters. He stumbled upon work making jewellery and enjoys the creative outlet this provides. At 27, his income helps to provide for his wife and himself as well as for schooling for his brothers and sisters back home. His family warmly supports him.

“The most beautiful part of my work [is that] I enjoy everything that I make… especially the earrings and bangles.”  A perfectionist of sorts, Elijah will often re-make a design several times if it does not match the vision he had for it at the beginning. Each piece holds his passions, his dreams and his hope for the future.

Ojiko

Born in the Migori County in Nyanza Province, Ojiko came to Nairobi to find work, starting to create jewelry in 2005. A year later, he transitioned to working using brass.

Today, as he lives and works alone in Kibera, he uses his income to support his wife who is currently in university in Kisumu. He loves the challenges of jewellery-making because it enables him to make enough to support himself and his wife. But beyond that, he is driven by the passion that he has for his work.

Our Sri Lankan Artisans

Nirmala

After a tragic past of loosing her two daughters within 3 months of each other, things were hard for Nirmala and her husband. After much heartache, Nirmala fell pregnant with another daughter but her husband was laid off after 15 years of loyal employment. Nirmala’s family was devastated. Her recent employment and training as a skilled wire craftsmen, her future looks bright and so does her daughter’s! She can afford food, care and can continue her daughter’s education.

Sumaiya

In Sumaiya’s community, it is not typical for women to work. When Sumaiya was very young, her father was diagnosed with mental illness, leaving her mother to provide for the family. Her mother made the difficult decision to leave her children in the care of their grandparents and go work as a housemaid in the Middle East, where she has been for 20 years only returning once every two years to visit her family. Now that Sumaiya is an adult, she wants to help her mother provide for her family. Sumaiya’s work as a jewelry artisan, earning a livable wage in a safe and fair environment, ensures she will not have to move abroad to provide for her family and hopefully, will allow her mother to return home in the near future.

Nuzra

After a heartbreaking divorce while she was pregnant, Nuzra was shunned by her family. Forcesd to move away, Nuzra has little hope for remarriage due to cultural stigma. She says her daughter is the one beautiful gift to come from her marriage. She is determined and single-minded in raising her well, and providing for her future. By making jewellery for our artisans, Nuzra has a fresh start in a safe environment! She earns a living wage, is a part of a caring work community, and has hope for her daughter’s future.

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