A visit to the Amani Market, off Robinhood Road, is a fun experience—the shop is filled with colorful beaded jewelry (necklaces, earrings, and bracelets) to go with any outfit, baskets of loose beads, desk accessories, baskets in a variety of vibrant colors, woodcrafts, and other decorative accessories. All items are handcrafted by artisans in Kenya. The artisans are all independent business people who receive the full value of their craftwork at the time of purchase.
“The Amani Market is the hub of the Amani Children’s Foundation,” explained Jane Stephens, Director of the Amani Children’s Foundation. “There are 20+ other Amani, regionally-unique initiatives around the country, and all operated under the Foundation leadership on a volunteer basis. Other than operating expenses, all funds are earmarked to support the New Life Homes, with four locations in Kenya. These homes, founded by a British couple, have been in operation for 20 years caring for abandoned babies, many found on the roadsides. Although many of the children are born to HIV mothers, it has been found over time that most don’t have the virus. New Life Homes is unique, as they support local legal adoptions within Kenya, versus focusing on international adoptions.” The New Life Homes can house up to 175 babies, with most adopted by the age of one. As one is adopted, another baby takes its place. The need for the homes and support continues.
The Amani Market is staffed by a team of dedicated volunteers. Jane Stephens serves as Director. Alice Nesbitt is the Arts Coordinator. Tina Haynie serves as the Educational Coordinator. Susan Strickland, Anne Wallen, Tori Petty, and Joan Celestino are shopkeepers and manage various events.
Jane shared that when the idea of creating the Foundation began to develop, she reached out to Dr. Maya Angelou for her thoughts. “She encouraged us to start something new,” shared Jane. “She told us to lean on young people, do something every day, and most of all, to enjoy it.” They followed her advice and now, when you enter the shop, you know it’s a fun place to be.
The Amani Market is not just a place to shop. They love parties—and want you to join in on the fun!
Plan your child’s next birthday party at the Amani Market. With only a $10 per-person donation, your guests will have an opportunity to make their own jewelry, learn about African arts, have a time of story-telling, and enjoy refreshments. You’re also welcome to bring along a birthday cake.
And parties are not just limited to children. Adults want in on the action, too. Jane shared that they’ve hosted parties for retirement groups, office team-building events, Christmas parties, secret Santa parties, and church groups. Artistic skills are not required; just bring along your imagination. You’ll be amazed by how creative you can be! Consider a bead party the next time you plan a get together with friends.
The Market also holds an Amani Camp twice each summer. Ten campers each session learn about Kenya and Africa, crafts, and the value of helping others through volunteering. In the fall and during holidays, these young people may be helping out at the shop, behind the scenes or making sales, and are the Foundation’s next generation of volunteers. Instilling a desire to help others is an important life skill they develop and nurture.
Amani Children’s Foundation Market is located at 3279 Robinhood Rd. (near Grassroots salon). Their hours of operation are Monday through Friday from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm; Saturdays, from 10:00 pm to 3:00 pm. For more information, call 336.253.7857, e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit their website (amanichildren.org) to learn more about the Foundation or check their social media sites (Facebook and Instagram). Stop by for a visit soon!