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Monday
Mar102014

WorldCrafts hosts tour to Kenya and Uganda

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – WorldCrafts will host a 17-day fair- and direct-trade tour to visit eight WorldCrafts artisan groups in Kenya and Uganda, Oct. 28–Nov. 13.

“This tour offers the unique opportunity to personally meet the skilled WorldCrafts artisans and tour their work sites,” said Andrea Mullins, WorldCrafts director. “Tourists will also be able to experience the breathtaking sights and sounds of Kenya and Uganda as they go on wild game drives, journey through Masaai villages and cruise the Nile River.”

The tour begins in Nairobi, Kenya, with a visit to four artisan groups: Sasa Designs, Home Decor Crafts, Mother Care Handcrafts and Sema Leatherworks. Each one of these WorldCrafts artisan groups seeks to empower impoverished artisans with a sustainable income and hope.

Sasa Designs assists deaf women as they strive to overcome their physical limitations and provide for their families, while Home Decor Crafts provides men and women with opportunities to use their creative skills to earn an income. Mother Care Handcrafts benefits more than 400 disadvantaged families by helping artisans use their skills in the centuries-old traditions of carving, jewelry making and basket making; and Sema Leatherworks employs men who work four days of the week making their items and spend the rest of the week utilizing their profits to improve their community.

From Nairobi, the group will travel to Naivasha to visit WorldCrafts artisan partner Back to Africa whose primary objective is family preservation and care for families at risk. These artisans, most of whom are single mothers and/or refugees, lived in extreme poverty before they began creating Back to Africa jewelry.

Before traveling to Uganda, tourists will spend two days in Masai Mara, known as one of Africa’s greatest wildlife reserves. It is located in southwest Kenya and is part of the northern section of the Serengeti National Park.

In Uganda, tourists will visit WorldCrafts artisan groups Proverbs 31, which is comprised of widowed, destitute and HIV-positive women who make beaded jewelry out of recycled paper; and ChildVoice International, which is located in an area where in 2004 the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) massacred 45 men and women and abducted a number of children. Their programs are designed to help prepare these children, their families and their communities for their transition homes.

While in Uganda, tourists will also go on a game drive on the northern bank of Murchison Falls National Park where they can see African savannah animals such as the giraffe, elephant, antelope, lion and the Uganda kob. Other features include a cruise of the Nile River and chimpanzee tracking in the Kaniyo Papidi Forest with opportunities to see unique forest birds found nowhere else in East Africa.

The final stop in Uganda is with WorldCrafts artisan group Kanzi. Kanzi artisans make unique fair-trade jewelry and crafts from artisans across East Africa. They also donate a portion of sales to support orphans and children at risk in Uganda, enabling them to get much-needed food, clothing, shelter, education and spiritual care.

The tour will be hosted in partnership with Dahoney Travel and will be led by Mullins and Debby Akerman, president of national WMU. Space is limited. For more information about the tour, visit http://worldcrafts.org/fairtrade.asp.

WorldCrafts, the fair-trade division of WMU, develops sustainable fair- and direct- trade businesses among impoverished people around the world. The vision of WorldCrafts is to offer an income with dignity and the hope of everlasting life to every person on earth.

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