It all began with a bizarre phone call. Two friends were each trying to figure out a way to generate funds to rescue orphans from slums and place them in family-style homes. Independently of each other, with no prior interest in the jewelry business on the part of either, one decided to sell jewelry. And the other decided to make jewelry. They called each other to share their strange conclusions; and there and then, a business was born.
We’ve stretched and grown since then. Today, we purchase and re-sell hand-made textiles, beads, and crafts from artisans who live and work in the poorest areas of Nairobi. We care deeply about their holistic well-being and development. But our main goal remains the same: we donate our profits to Hope’s Promise for Sanctuary of Hope, a family for twenty-four former orphans who were rescued from the Mathare Valley slum.
And how that came about, well that’s quite the story too.
For the previous eight summers before the strange phone call that birthed a business, Debbie Lee and her husband Brian led short term mission teams of college students to Kenya with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. They witnessed first-hand the plight of orphans.
In 2001, Colleen Briggs and her husband David adopted a child from a Mother Teresa orphanage in Nairobi, and could not forget the children left behind. The Lees introduced the Briggs to their long-time friends, Kenyans Pastor Jepson and Edith Karau, in 2004. The Karaus minister in Nairobi’s second largest slum, Mathare Valley. They wrestle again and again with the suffering of vulnerable children.
In 2006, the Lees’, Karaus’ and Briggs’ broken-hearts for orphans exploded into a dream of opening a home for some of them.
Through Hope’s Promise, an adoption agency and orphan care ministry based in Colorado, the Karaus began welcoming home children from Mathare Valley in 2006 into a new family called Sanctuary of Hope (SoH). Today, the Karaus parent twenty-four former orphans between SoH 1 & 2.
So that’s how Pamba Toto began. Two friends who couldn’t forget the kids they met in the slums and came up with this crazy idea to generate funds for Sanctuary of Hope. But between all these major plot highlights, shocking surprises and out-of-the-blue happy miracles punctuate the story. And it’s still being written today.
You’ll have to read our blog to find out more….
And perhaps you will even find yourself written into the story, too.