In our 20th year at Amani, as we look for volunteers who are willing to host an Amani Box Party, it has made us reflect on all those who have helped us to get where we are. We asked Becky Chinchen, Executive Director and Founder of Amani ya Juu, her thoughts on our volunteers:
We have sold our products through volunteers in the US from as long as I can remember. Volunteers have been the backbone of Amani's growth and sustainability from the very beginning. We started by sending products home with visitors who would come to visit the Amani Kenya center to see the work. Many were moved through meeting the ladies and seeing their work and asked if they could help by selling in their churches and communities. We were small in the early years, we didn't even have a shop for the first couple of years, so it was through volunteers that Amani was able to get off the ground.
We realized that our volunteers have also had a vital role in supporting our mission and vision of sustainability. Amani has never been donor dependent for operations. When women are able to earn their own income they gain dignity and honor which goes a long way in a person's life who is recovering from the devastation of war, loss and pain. There is something about making an item that people buy, not out of sympathy, but because it is beautifully handcrafted by one who has come to terms with peace and reconciliation in their own hearts.
Lastly but most importantly selling products through box party events is the way God's message of peace is spread which is the whole purpose of the box party program.
I just received an email from a lady who came as a volunteer to Amani way back in 1998, Joan Edwards. She was appreciating the opportunity she had to work at Amani and said "This program is not just for those in Africa, but it's helped many more. Your vision has blessed more than the refugees and has provided me a precious experience of knowing the ladies and sharing skills with them. If I ever get back to Kenya I will be sure to visit Amani." Joan is a volunteer who hosted many Amani sales over the years as a way to stay connected to Amani's life giving experience.
There is something about reaching out beyond ourselves and our communities. You begin to recognize that we are all interconnected and that our world is not about how different we are but how alike we are, how much we need one other to take us to wholeness. "I am because we are" (theologian Prof. John Mbiti). Amani brings the family together, brothers and sister in Christ, becoming His collective agents of peace.
Will you host a party for Amani?
Learn more here, or send the email below!