We have had so much hustle and bustle since the doors of The Rev have been opened. Necklaces, scarves, hats, headbands, coffee, teas, and sodas have all been purchased, which in one way or another give back to men, women, and children somewhere in the world. So much change has occurred in just a few short weeks simply by sharing these handmade treasures with the community. In case you haven’t had a chance to stop by and see them for yourselves, we have provided you with a little info along with some original fashion illustrations highlighting two of our biggest sellers so far.
Papers of Peace is one of Be Free Revolution’s most popular lines. Each one of these handmade beads is carefully crafted by a woman in Kenya out of colored paper, which is then shellacked making the beads hard and durable. Amazing right? The fact that something so beautiful can come from something so simple is boggling – particularly in Kibera where excess paper and trash is lying around the streets and outside people’s homes. The thing I love most about these beads is the tiny details that you can find in them. It’s as if the stories of these women’s lives are emitted from their very fingertips and transferred to these beads making each one beautifully unique. These necklaces tell stories, they hold struggles, they hold happiness and most of all they hold opportunity.
Priscilla Macharia is the mastermind and coordinator of BFR’s Papers of Peace line. A native of Kenya and Kibera, she, alongside Be Free Revolution, basically developed employment – something that is scarce in this area of the world, for this group of artisanal Kenyan women. In addition to overseeing production, Priscilla is the head teacher at Wings of Life School, a place we all hold very near and dear to our hearts here at BFR. The unconditional love from Priscilla and her mother, Pastor Jane, is exemplified through the smiling faces, angelic voices and beating drums of their sweet students. Priscilla and Jane are a source of strength and hope for these kids, and the school that they have built is a refuge.
As if it weren’t enough for Priscilla to provide a means of employment to these women that are accustomed to living off $1 a day, through Be Free Revolution she is also able to feed their children two meals a day – two meals that are often the only thing they get to eat at all. This brings me to the next best thing about the Papers of Peace line. Be Free Revolution has brought these necklaces back to the United States and created a market for them, which provides an income for the women making them. That’s not all though. Your $20 – $30 pays that woman AND gives one of Priscilla’s students those two meals a day. Wow.
When we stop and think about that, it is extraordinary that our mere $30 literally gives LIFE to families across the world. By supporting this line, you give these women and children a chance for change, an opportunity to succeed in their education and courage for a future.
Although not a BFR line, but another give back line, Krochet Kids intl. (KKi) products will also be available at The Rev. This company was started by three guys in high school who were avid about snow sports. They simply wanted to make their own head gear. Their trend quickly took off, and they were soon taking custom orders. A local newspaper coined them the “Krochet Kids.” As they left for college, that story came to a close, but a new one began. Throughout their years apart at school, they all spent time in developing countries simply wanting a better global understanding. A desire to help was ignited within them. Just like our leaders here at BFR, they felt called to make a difference and a new idea was born. It seemed silly to use something as simple as crocheting to break the cycle of poverty, but again, it was simplicity that provided opportunity.
By providing these women a job, the founders of Krochet Kids intl. have seen their incomes grow to be 10 times what they used to be and their savings levels have grown to be 25 times what they used to be. As a result, families are 5 times more likely to have accessible healthcare when sick. Additionally, women are 40% LESS likely to be abused, and 25% MORE likely to be treated with equality and take an active role in major family decisions. On top of that, the children whose mothers participate in KKi programs, are 25 times more likely to attend high school opening up more windows of opportunity for them than before.
We would love to share more with you about each of the products we carry and who and how they help. We also have plenty more artwork hangin’ around that is available in all different styles and mediums. Come by and see us here at The Rev anytime Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m! 771 E. Brookhaven Circle.