Back to our Roots: Our Fall 2013 Collection September 20 2013

BADALA has changed a lot since we first started so in the last year I've done a lot of reflecting. In my attempt to get back to my roots, I fell in love with Africa all over again.

Africa is beautiful: the land is beautiful, the colors are beautiful, the people are beautiful, and their unrelenting joy is beautiful.

Fall 2013 is our most personal collection yet. On each product page, you'll also find photos of Africa which inspired these products. For the first time on our website, I'm sharing these personal photos because they remind me of what it was like to experience Africa for the first time and I hope that in some small way, you're able to experience Africa through them as well. In this collection, you'll find bold colors and traditional African prints reflective of the things that made me fall in love with Africa in the first place.

My hope is that you'll be inspired by Africa's beauty as much as I am and that through these products you'll be able to carry a piece of it with you always.

With love & faith,

The BADALA Family November 12 2012

The following is a piece written by BADALA's Regional Director, Paul Kieru. In addition to serving as BADALA's main liaison between East Africa and the US, Paul spends much of his time writing creative stories and the following is his account of BADALA's family dynamic. Please enjoy!


The BADALA Family by Paul Kieru

We all have different and diverse backgrounds; stories of struggles triumph and love. That is why we are
together in this room; laughing and joyful. Thankful for the life that we have because it has shaped us
into who we are. We are members of one family: the BADALA family.

Meet the family-

Monica is the life of the party, she radiates joy and warmth, she is known by many as Mama Africa. She
is quick to know if anything troubles you, she is always attentive, always thinking of solutions, ways to
help out. She is the definition of Love.

Monica also runs a feeding center; many children have their lunch there. There are times when the
Beans are not enough and the look of anguish on a child’s face becomes unbearable. A look of sadness
despair and worry, a look brought about by a reduced portion of Beans or none at all. Such times shatter
her heart and her will, but always, the Lord provides, always, her family is there for her in prayer. Family
surrounds her with prayer.

Beaty is like the sister everyone wished they had; beautiful and strong willed. If we were all in high
school, she would keep the bullies away from us. She is diligent and industrious. Every day she brings to
work a bundle of joy by name of Faith and Faith ensures that we constantly have smiles on our faces.

5am everyday finds Beaty seated by the roadside selling Buns. With wraps tied tight around her body to
ward off the biting cold and harsh winds carrying tears from her eyes, yet she humbly braves it. Through
all this, baby Faith is under the warm care of another BADALA member. Such is family to her; always
there when needed the most.

Simply put Judy rocks! Shy yet keen on detail, we usually have to drag her out of the office because she
works really hard. Judy will wait for a really quiet moment before making a weird noise and leaving us
bursting with laughter. She is random – and she knows it!

With a face like Judy’s, worry is not easily discernable, yet on one day, a BADALA member called Judy
aside and gave her some money. What amazed Judy was how the other person had known of her need,
how in such hard times, a selfless gift had been given to her. Knowing needs without even having to talk
about them and even solving them is one of the rare gifts of family; being bound by love as to bear each
other’s burdens.

An angel visited BADALA and never left. Her name was Lily. Lily walks and talks with grace. She is silent
and always at ease. If Lily was a musical instrument, she would be a Harp; calming and graceful. She is
the mother to little baby Joelle.

The biggest change in her life was being able to share her fears and anger, depression and sense of
failure with others and discovering that these reactions are not some sin on her soul, but are part of the
stressful process she and others are going through. She is lifted by the sense of support she now feels, a
sense that there are others out there who knows what she is going through. That is family for her.

Helen is the voice of reason, she is calm and collected. She is a student of life and ever willing to learn.
She is one of the best cooks there is out there.

The worst feeling in the world for a mother is not losing a job, a toe or an object. The worst feeling is
knowing that you cannot feed your child; it is a deep dark painful pit. I have been there, and daily I pray
that it never happens again. To Helen, family is paramount; it is being able to step in when others fail.

Within each new experience in our lives is a stepping-stone. Some are little tiny pebbles and others are
big boulders. Some are fun and some are exhausting but with each passing day we learn why we are
here, what our mission is and why different individuals come into our lives.

Such is life in our family.

Lillian August 28 2012

Lillian lives in the third largest slum in the world, Kibera. Just a bit smaller than the massive slums of Mumbai, India and Johannesburg, South Africa, Kibera is located in Nairobi, Kenya and contains one third of the capital city’s population. Unless you’ve been there, its impossible to imagine this place that packs one million people into just one square mile. Kibera is like no other place on Earth. 
Lillian moved there with her husband where they had three children. They were there when Kenya’s post-election clashes broke out in 2007. Friends began to threaten each others’ lives. Neighbors began to set each others’ houses on fire. On a tragic day, Lillian’s husband never returned home from work. He was later found hacked to death, put in a sack, and thrown into a river of sewage. 

Since Lillian could not support herself after her husband was murdered, culture dictated that she marry her late husband’s brother. In this abusive relationship she became pregnant. After discovering Lillian’s pregnancy, her husband’s brother abandoned her, forcing her to move back into the slum. 

In a desperate moment, pregnant Lillian cried out to God for a sign of mercy and a way to provide for her children. It was later that week that she was hired by BADALA to craft bracelets. A few months later she delivered a healthy baby girl who she named Joelle after BADALA’s founder. 

Because of BADALA she is able to feed her children and send them to school, care for her newborn baby, and buy necessary medicine.  

Click here to return to the overview of our microfinance program. 

Click here to purchase the products made by the BADALA ladies. 

Click here if you're a retailer looking for our current line sheet. 

Though the microfinance program is self-sustaining, we need people to invest into more tools and training. Click here to help us out.

Helen & Caroline July 24 2012

One of the main reasons for my most recent trip to Kenya was to invite two new women to BADALA’s microfinance program. This program started as a way to bring single mothers out of prostitution, abusive relationships, and life on the street, but it has now become a way for these women to recover from the aforementioned and start their own businesses through skills training, basic accounting and marketing seminars, and career counseling. 

Given the mission of the program and the strong relational ties of the group, I realized that hiring new people could upset such a delicate balance. Just a few weeks ago Paul (BADALA’s Regional Director) and I conducted interviews and were proud to select Helen and Caroline from the crowd and they’ve been great additions to the team. Allow me to introduce you to the newest additions to the BADALA family, Helen and Caroline. 

During the interview I asked Helen what one of her weaknesses is. She told me that at times she could be easily angered by social injustice.  I think this is going to give us a lot to talk about. 

Caroline was born in Kibera and lost both of her parents at an early age. This tragedy only allowed her to continue school until third grade, but education is something she really desires for her children. She is working hard inside and outside of BADALA to make sure she secures this privilege for her six little tykes.