Ladies at Jewelry Workshop in Nairobi

Widows in the Kibera slums of Nairobi struggle against tremendous odds to provide for themselves and their children. St. Martha’s Ministry found a way for them make jewelry out of discarded animal bones and taught them how to sew to earn income.

Caleb and Eunice Otieno and missionary Martha Kirkpatrick started St. Martha’s Ministry in Kibera, the largest slum in Africa. They named the widows’ project ‘Faraja’, meaning comfort in Swahili. Faraja Widows’ Project empowers widows
who are affected by HIV/AIDS.

It started with a small group of three widows and eight orphans and has grown to impact more than a dozen widows and several dozen orphans.

St. Martha’s Ministry and the widows receive their major source of income from the sale of bags and African jewelry made out of discarded animal bones. The bones are shaped at the men’s workshop nearby using grinding tools, and then given to the ladies to make beautiful bracelets, earrings, and necklaces.


Vincent grew up in northern Uganda but relocated to Kampala because of the rebel disturbances at the time. During his stay with a cousin he learned how to make crafts out of cow horn.

His hard work and creativity enabled him to start a business named HORN CRAFTS. It was difficult at first but then he I came in touch with HOPE INSTITUTE of UGANDA (Jinja Jewelry). His life changed after that because he saw hope.

He said, “before I met the people of HIU it was as if, even if I was to work to my last atom, I would not be able make it in life. I had a good exposure in 2008 when I won a trophy for being the best in crafts section at Uganda International Trade Fair. I was then able to move into a better house, and I even acquired some machines from HIU to help my business grow. I am thankful for the partnership with HIU and those who sell their products.”

Vincent has been able to expand his business twice in the last three years, and has trained nine men to help him, two are starting their own businesses.

Cow Horn Bangles

Diana helps take care of her children by making and selling crafts. Her parents died of Aids, but God provided a way for her to finish school and start her own craft business. One of her popular products is made from recycled sugar bags. She lines them with beautiful fabrics. She is a gifted seamstress and jewelry designer.

Diana recently rescued Mercy from an alcoholic mother who was going to sell her for less than $100 to an old man. She now takes care of her and pays for school fees with the help of a friend.
Mercy is proudly wearing the shirt I gave her during our visit.

I purchased products from Diana to add to my Gifts With Purpose sales when I visited in August 2017.

Sugar Bag

Originally empowering women affected by Hansen’s Disease, Hands of Hope now also empowers other marginalized people, including young women who are orphans and some who have escaped trafficking.  Although they are marginalized in their society, they are overcoming stigma and hardships.

The women receive training and mentoring to build their skill level so they can create high quality products to earn a good living to support themselves and their families.  They also experience love and learn how God cares for them.  They begin to live respected and hope-filled lives.

Many of the original women have become self-sufficient, and have secured employment outside Hands of Hope.

Their Activities: 

  1. Learn income generating skills.

  2. Design and sew marketable items.

  3. Participate in group activities that enhance growth and personal development.

  4. Individual Counseling for special needs.

Their Goals:   

  1. Develop a self-sustaining micro enterprise.

  2. Enable women to regain self-esteem and confidence.

Satin lined, Silk Brocade jewelry organizer with 8 inside pockets.


Lilly is an orphan who became physically disabled at a young age.  After her mother died during childbirth, raising a daughter was too much for her father to handle.  In desperation, he tried to kill her by immersing her in boiling water. When she didn’t die, he took her to the steps of a mental institution and she was taken in by the caretaker of the hospital.  She was raised there and lived a very hard life. She was disfigured and only capable of crawling on all fours. When she was discovered by a local missionary at age 13, they helped her receive surgeries to repair her burned and deformed legs. She was then able to stand upright for the first time in her life. At 17, she was taken in by Hands of Hope as a quilt maker and now has a thriving life.  She is married now with children!

Your purchase of Hands of Hope products will help the physically disabled
to earn a livelihood for their families through their sewing and quilting skills. 

Rose Manasseh leads the beading group at Light and Life Free Methodist Church.
She and her husband are both ordained ministers and have 5 children.  She says, “bead making is a great support to our family needs.  It has helped us to pay school fees and rent. We always pray for you that God will open the market for you to sell our products.      Thank you!”

Esther Ogola is married to Joseph. She says, “Bead making helps us to pay school fees for our 5-year-old and buy clothes, food, and household supplies.” One of her goals is to start a business in the market selling used clothing.  Her prayer is that people will buy beads every month, and for her children to know God.

Mary Wandira is married to Pastor Richard. They have 3 children.  They want to help the children progress in their schooling, so they can start a business and care for themselves.  Mary is thankful to God that she has grown spiritually, and she knows that Jesus loves her.  She says, “He has encouraged me by meeting my needs and then I tell others.”  She asks for prayer for her family to be God fearing and to get more money to care for orphans.

Maria Abenakyo is married with 3 children; Laurie, Mathan, and Matthew.  She studied Art and Design at MaKerere University in Uganda with financial help from Hope Institute of Uganda.  Maria was raised by her sister after losing her parents at age 8.  She says, “Bead making helped me to finish paying my school fees and to pay for my son’s fees and now I have my own business.  Going to church has healed me a lot. I have learned to think positively. Life has been so hard, but God provides just in time.  My husband has become stronger in his faith because he sees God providing and he’s learned to pray.  We are so grateful for the volunteers who sacrifice their time to sell the beads.  I pray for their families and the people who buy.”

Rachel Naigino takes care of her sister’s 3 children all alone.  She says, “I started beading when I was in the Senior 4 grade in school. It was hard because I didn’t have money for registration fees.  The bead money came just in time to pay fees for Senior 4. And then finish A level.”

Justine Nakku is married to Pastor William. They have 3 children. Bead making has helped her feed her family, buy medicines and basic supplies, and pay school fees.  Justine says, “God and the church changed my life. Before I received Christ, I was cursed by uncles because I was an orphan.  Today I have joy and peace and feel loved. Please pray for me to be deeply rooted in Christ.”

Deo Bwire.  Deo’s mother left the family when he was 5, then his dad died in 1991. Deo was cared for by his uncle after his father’s death.  He is currently a leader with the Bible Training School led by Pastor Manasseh.  He says, “bead making has created employment to pay house rent, my own school fees and essential needs like water, clothes, soap, and medicine. I also taught my colleagues how to make beads and now they have their own beading and craft group.”  His goals are to invest in a sustainable income generating business.  He wants to buy tools and then open a craft shop where he sells art, painting, woodworking, and bead items.  He asks for prayer to find a good marriage partner who would also like to help care for orphans.

Pascaliah Anyango is married to Godfrey. They have 4 children.    She says, “I thank you for the work you do selling our beads. I can pay school fees for my children and buy basic needs. Making jewelry also helps keep me busy at home instead of sitting idle.”  God has changed her life by giving her peace and joy and she is so happy that her mother also received Christ.  She requests prayer that her husband would become a believer.

Florence Nakayima has 5 children. Florence wants to educate her children so they can get good employment.  She says, “The church has helped me to be hard working and not lazy and has taught me teamwork. Also, through the bead making group we have created fellowship.  We pray on Wednesdays and Fridays for each other and the people who buy our beads.”