Karama Gifts


Whenever I listen to missionaries share or watch television shows about the plights that face the continent of Africa, I am overwhelmed. So much pain, injustice, corruption, poverty, and decades of cruelty and abuse – especially to women. So many of their stories are nearly unbearable – HIV, human trafficking, losing children in childbirth due to incompetent medical care, and the complete lack of societal infrastructure that would allow so many to thrive.

I always walk away wanting to do something immediately, but fearing that it would never be enough – or the right thing – or make it to the right people.

But when I hear about people that are making a difference, on the ground, with the people, in the right places, it brings indescribable joy to my heart.

Karama is one of those organizations. It was started by one of you – a blog reader, Dyan.

Dyan and her family are currently missionaries in Tanzania, but while they were in Ethiopia, she saw the determination and drive that many so women possessed to support their families. They would do anything to provide food and education for their children, but the healthy opportunities to make a living were so few. So Dyan began to help them create beautiful items, and gave them the means to sell their creations – through the Karama website and trunk shows in the US.

This vision of Dyan’s gives women the chance for dignity – something we too often take for granted in the United States. And God has blessed her efforts – through multiple learning and crafting centers in five different African countries, women are taught skills and educated on how to support themselves and their family with their craft.

They now make scarves, dresses, jewelry, handbags, notebooks, and much more – and each item is unique, beautiful, and extraordinarily well-made.

I was so excited when Dyan shared Karama’s website with me. I quickly ordered a necklace and purse, and they truly delighted me.

Karama Necklace and Purse

I bought this weekender bag, and it has made a great everyday purse/diaper bag/holder-of-all-my-kid’s-crap. The geometric print drew me in – I’m a complete sucker for line art, after all.

Karama Purse

It’s made from thick, two-ply fabric – much thicker than similar bags I’ve bought off of Etsy, and it was less expensive, at only $35! It has a pocket on the inside, and an extra-wide, luxuriously comfortable shoulder strap that makes it feel infinitely lighter than my last purse. They have several other designs and colors that I’m now itching to add to my collection.

My purse was made by the Mabinti group, which is located in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania and works to rehabilitate the lives of women who have suffered the devastation of fistula, have received surgery, and are healing. Fistula is a complication due to prolonged childbirth that leaves a woman incontinent and thus ostracizes her from her community and devastates her life.

Mabinti trains these ladies in sewing and life skills so that they can start their own business once they leave the 18-month program. After finishing the course, each woman is supplied with a starter kit containing a sewing machine, scissors, beading tools and a supply of fabric and beads.


I also bought a zulugrass beaded necklace in a beautiful dark periwinkle mixed with many other hues of blue, purple, and pink.

Karama Necklace Close Up

I am crazy about the beads, but my favorite part of this necklace is that it’s adjustable from 13” to 30”. I’m constantly trying to find the correct length of necklaces for different necklines, but this one takes all of the work out of it – I just adjust until it’s perfect and go.

Karama Necklace

My necklace was created by the Leakey Collection, which is employing Maasai women in rural Kenya to make these beautiful products from repurposed materials.


Karama represents over 25 groups of artisans, and many of the groups consist of physically disabled or HIV+ ladies. But all of the groups are employing marginalized individuals in need of sustainable work. The artisans are then able to feed their families and send their children to school through the work they receive.

Karama’s creations would make fantastic gifts for Christmas and Birthdays, because you’re gifting the recipient and women and families in Africa. But I have found that it takes a lot of the guilt out of buying for myself, too – because after all, I’m helping someone else!

I have also bought two $50 Gift Certificates for Karama products to give away to two of you. If you’d like to enter, this one’s easy: just visit Karama’s site, then come back and tell me one item that you loved.

Also, Karama has given me a coupon code to share with all of you – use “OBJECTIVITY” to get free shipping! I’ll also add this graphic to my sidebar for easy locating later.



This giveaway will be open until Monday, August 26 and I’ll announce the winners on my Giveaway Winner’s Page on Tuesday, August 27. Best of luck, and enjoy Karama’s site!

Disclosure: I was not compensated in any way for this giveaway, and bought the prizes myself in order to support this ministry. Karama is fantastic and I highly recommend that you check it out – that includes you, FTC!

67 thoughts on “Karama Gifts – Sharing Dignity. {$100 Giveaway}

  1. What a great site! I really love the weekender bag, too… my favorite is the sold-out flower one, of course. Ohh and the jewelry! The Circle of Life Necklace, the Circles of Color Earrings, the Luca Hoops, the Layering Hoops, and the Safari Zuluglass beaded necklace. So many things I love. I hope I win! :-) Thank you for having such an awesome giveaway!

  2. There’s a lot of beautiful stuff, but I went straight for the scarves first, I’ve been on a real scarf kick lately. the sophia scarf in midnight would go great with my wardrobe!

  3. WOW!! What an awesome project. Everything was beautiful but I love the journals and circles of silver earrings.. Thank you for sharing this.

  4. I love the Hoops of Color earrings in emerald green, and the journals. Everything is so beautiful and it brings tears to my eyes when I picture these women and the joy in their faces as they’re given a second chance at life!

  5. Amani dress really caught my eye and the Hannah scarf in the blue. There were so many items it was hard to choose just one things. What an great project to be part of.

  6. Love the website. Such a great way to showcase these women’s talents. I loved their weekender bags and scarves. And those journals were so pretty!

  7. Irene and loleene necklace, I LOVE your bag, and my middle girl needs the papa owl. I will definitely be using this site for gifts!

  8. I love the kids stuffed owls, and the erin necklaces. I will definitely have to remember this place come Christmas – I often donate to organizations that give gifts like this as add ons, it would be nice to go straight to the source and I know some people who would love a lot of those products!

  9. What an awesome website! My two favorites were the Glass Blast bracelets and the Knots of Love necklace.

  10. I love love LOVE the child’s dress “polka dot sensation”. Having 2 boys, and now a little girl… I’m gonna go crazy with the girly stuff!!

  11. I love organizations like this one. So inspiring. And the “red hot” zulugrass necklace is gorgeous!

  12. I love this site and will pass it on to my friends. I an getting the zulaglass necklace in red and earrings.

  13. So many cute things! LOVE the Amani Dress, totally my style. I also loved the flower version of the weekender bag, the mama and baby stars and all the beautiful scarves! What an amazing cause.

  14. The key to the light bag IMO is the fabric. I love my leather bags but after getting my first quilted fabric one I have been hooked since they are so much lighter! (Heck, my leather bag when empty is almost as heavy as my fabric ones full to the brim..)

    They have some beautiful things on esty, will have to check them out.

  15. So any things! I love the teardrop necklace and the Ava scarf and and and, I think I just found many Christmas gifts.!

  16. Everything is so unique and beautiful – my favorites are the Irene necklace, Weekender flower bag, and the sapphire earrings! So awesome that these women are being given an opportunity to better their lives! God bless them and all who support them! I’ll definitely be buying from Karama!

  17. Wow! What a wonderful organization; thank you so much for sharing this. I’m always looking for local people/org’s or “charitys of sorts” to buy Christmas gifts from. They have so many wonderful items that I will definitely be ordering for Christmas! Thanks so much for sharing; how in the world could I decide what I want?! I love the tembo baby blanket with the sweet elephants cross-stitched on there. Or the Sophia scarf in sage. I also really like the frillness clutches. Please share any other wonderful sites that you come across!

  18. I love the polka dot sensation and the redemption cross. Really I love it all. The whole concept makes it all even better.

  19. I really love the ‘baby stars’ and considering the price, I will probably just straight up buy them if I don’t win :) They would be so adorable in my Son’s nursery! And like you, I enjoy funding programs where I see my money going to great use, have you ever been to Kiva.org ? I love that organization as well. I will have to add this one to my ‘must shop from and support’ list. Thanks for sharing about them!

  20. I like the Hannah scarf…and those weekender bags are great! It’s always such a good option to be able to buy items and , at the same time, help women build their businesses.

  21. I loved the owl cards and the circle of life necklace but I think my favorite is the zulugrass necklace in morning dip color.
    All the ladies on my Christmas list will be receiving Karama gifts this year!

  22. I loved the Owls…especially the Papa one. I also loved the Zulugrass grass necklace in the morning dip. This is a great place for Christmas presents!

  23. I love organizations like this! The joy you feel when you see how it changes peoples lives is so wonderful!
    I really like the Ava scarf in Lavender, such a pretty and subtle color.

  24. I love the Travel Towel and the Ava Scarf in sunshine and mint! I will be making a purchase soon! Thanks for bringing this to our attention!

  25. Since my Christmas tree is truly an “angel tree” with ornaments I’ve collected over the years, I have to say the angel ornaments. They are truly unique and beautiful.

  26. What a great story. It is uplifting to see someone help make a difference for these women. I love those angel ornaments, I definitely need several of these for our tree at Christmas time.

  27. The heart pennant banner is adorable! I was actually trying to find a site like this the other day! Thanks for sharing!!

  28. Love all of the jewelry! Hard to pick just one. Of the bags though…my fav is the flour sack tote! What a great site and awesome thing to support!

  29. I would love to win this. I also love that you bought the gift certificates to support the ministry. I’m going to book mark it for Christmas so I can buy presents from them for my mother and mother-in-law.
    I think the first thing I would buy it the zulugrass necklace in morning dip.

  30. This is fantastic! And I’m back again(: I love ministry’s that support others worldwide! These are so wonderful. I love that weekender bag!

  31. I’m in love with the Amani dress! Also the isabella hoops and the knots of love necklace. Those pieces are so enchanting to me!

  32. RACHEL–
    you are amazing and i’m so grateful that i fell in love with your blog through your hi-lair-eeee-us MOM JEANS post (http://www.graspingforobjectivity.com/2009/03/mom-jeans-and-dreaded-long-butt.html) and that you were open to me sharing my heart for the world and for the women of africa… and … may i add…. really beautiful, high quality products that make my heart pitter-patter.

    p.s. i’m NOT writing to compete for your generous $50 giveaway … hahhaha…. but if i did happen to win it… hahahha… i already know some items i’d really like to buy.

    p.p.s.s. how ’bout you and some of your readers take a trip together to visit Karama’s headquarters in Tanzania??!!! (think i’m joking? cause i’m totes serious!)

  33. LOVE Karama! I have bought Christmas gifts for people from there before. Thank you for supporting them! I love the necklaces… so hard to pick just one :) But I love the silver teardrop necklace. So pretty & simple!

  34. it is WONDERFUL that you are sharing the love of karama!!! the Amani dress is beautiful and each piece has such an amazing story!

  35. Good for them, and good for you for helping them out! These women’s stories just stab me straight in the heart–especially the ones who have been marginalized because of illness or rape. I loved pretty much everything on their site, but particularly the Sophia scarf in midnight, and the glass blast bracelets.

  36. Just want to say a HUGE THANK YOU on behalf of Karama for being a voice for our artisans, Rachel!! You are WONDERFUL… we are so thankful for you!!! {and your awesome readers!!}

  37. I bookmarked this page when you first wrote it. I just ordered gifts for every female on my list! It’s so nice to know the money is going to people who really need it and not to Wal-Mart or China! Thanks again!!

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