Involvement Archives

Posted by Foundation on May 28, 2014 3:32 PM

Katherine's Volunteering Experience

Hi, My name is Katherine Morrow and I am in 5th year at The Mary Erskine School. For the past few days I have been volunteering at Johari as part of my school work experience. I was given a range of tasks to do which were very interesting and enjoyable. I started off by finding out about the background of Johari which I found fascinating as they do so much more to help support children in Kenya than I originally expected.

My first task was to label the brilliant new Seedlings stock. This was quite exciting because I got to have an exclusive look at the t-shirts before anyone else could. I think the new designs look amazing and I congratulate the winners.

My next task was to do a stock count. This took a long time but I did not mind as I was concentrating hard and focused on getting the job done! Ruth also involved me in the proof reading of the Johari emag which she was working on.


Laura was taking photos of the new Seedlings stock to add to the Johari online shop and I helped her out by ironing the t-shirts. This was exciting as it was interesting to see behind the scenes and get an insight into retail. I was tasked with working on the Seedlings display in the Johari office in Edinburgh.


I have really enjoyed my work experience here at Johari. It's been great learning more about the charity and the young people in Kenya. The experience with Johari has also given me an insight into the running of a small business which is something I would like to pursue in the future. I would love to come back and help again and I would like to thank Ruth and Laura for supporting me with my volunteering experience.

Posted by Foundation on May 16, 2014 9:41 AM

Fundraising Progress from Scottish Equity Partners

Long term Johari supporters, Scottish Equity Partners are well on their way to reaching their massive £28k fundraising target in order to establish and support the Miale Small Business Start Up Project.

The staff at SEP have been busy organising lots of exciting fundraising events over the past six months ranging from Johari House Parties, 10km runs and Burns Suppers, there’s even a very brave employee abseiling off Xscape! A group of SEP employees have also planned to take part in the Three Peaks Challenge, a spectacular event which involves walking the highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales within 24 hours. The team will set off from the base of Ben Nevis at 5pm on the 10th of June, reach Scafell Pike around 4am, then head down to Snowdonia to finish at 5pm on the 11th June. We think a well deserved rest will be needed afterwards!

Progress is going well with the Miale Small Business Start Up Project with six young adults having completed training courses in areas such as electrical work, beauty and hairdressing and metal work. Five of the young adults are also attached to local businesses in order to gain exposure in their chosen fields.

Hairdressing Training

Training in Metal Work

A big well done and thank you to all at SEP for their brilliant fundraising efforts so far, and good luck with all your upcoming events! We can't wait to hear how you get on!

Posted by Regina on May 14, 2014 12:09 PM

New Football Strips for Miale Outreach Kids!

There was much excitement recently at the Miale Outreach Project in Kandara when the children received new football strips! The strips were very kindly donated by long term Johari supporters, Giffnock Soccer Centre. The kids were so excited to do their Saturday training session in their new kit!

Some of the children have never played football in a full strip before so this was a new experience for them!

One of the kids said, "Now that I have my new football strip I'm going to win every game!"







Posted by Foundation on May 13, 2014 11:30 AM

Kinghorn Primary Support is Aiding Self Sufficiency

Kinghorn Primary School hosted a fashion show during Fair Trade fortnight and raised a fantastic £339. In addition to the fundraising the Johari stall generated £277 worth of sales with 100% of the profit from the sale of Seedlings t-shirts and Johari jewellery helping support our Miale Social Development Projects.


Kinghorn Primary School have organised a number of fundraising projects in support of the Miale Social Development Projectsover the past few years. The money raised from this year's Kinghorn Fashion Show along with fundraising from Bo'ness Public School's Fashion Show has helped pay for fruit trees and enabled micro-credit support for the Guardian Empowerment Project in Kandara. The support is helping encourage self sufficiency as the Guardians and children benefit from learning new skills and grow produce they can eat or sell on to others within the community.


Posted by Foundation on May 12, 2014 3:54 PM

Bo'ness Public School - What their fundraising helped achieve

In November 2013, Primary 3 at Bo'ness Public School organised a Johari Fashion Show to help raise funds to support our Farming and Gardening Project in Kandara. As a result of this funding we have been able to provide the Guardians in Kandara with fruit trees and offer some micro credit support for purchasing additional livestock. Read all about it.

Primary 3 were eager to find out about the new additions to the project as they have also shared information with their friends on the Miale Projects on Farming in Kenya and Scotland.

Here follows some comments from Primary 3

  • I love the pictures and I like how you are happy and healthy - by Zara
  • I am happy to see you are keeping healthy and pleased that P3 could help fundraise for your charity. - by Harrison
  • I am so happy to see what new things you have bought. - By Eilidh
  • I am glad to see you are all fit and healthy - by Lewis

  • I am happy you got a goat to get some milk - by McKenzie
  • hope you enjoy the food you are growing. - by Alex
  • I hope you like the new animals you have. - by Kate

  • Posted by Foundation on April 14, 2014 2:22 PM

    Regina's Trip To Scotland!

    It was a whirlwind few days for Regina, our Social Development Manager when she visited Scotland last month. Regina’s jam packed schedule meant she managed to spend time in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling, Falkirk and Bo’ness; all within a week!

    After a long journey from Nairobi and a good nights sleep, Regina’s first stop on her Scottish tour was Edinburgh where she visited the Aridhia and Johari UK office. Aridhia employees as well as pupils and staff from George Heriots School heard Regina talk about the Miale Projects and the various ways funds raised in the UK help support our social development and enterprise projects. Afterwards, Regina experienced her first British Afternoon Tea sampling the wonderful home baking made by Aridhia employees. Based on the multiple visits to the cake table we think she enjoyed it!



    The next day Regina spent visiting Scottish Equity Partners in their Glasgow office. SEP are currently running a two year fundraising campaign to help in establishing the Miale Small Business Start Up Project. This will enable young adults on our Miale Projects to learn new skills and develop their own small business. SEP staff were very interested to hear about the projects progression and were encouraged by Regina’s dedication and enthusiasm.
    “Regina’s visit to SEP was really inspirational and has made us appreciate how important our fundraising pledge for the Miale Start Up Project is to Regina and the young adults. Just the injection of energy and enthusiasm we needed!”
    Catherine Simpson-SEP


    On Saturday morning Regina spent time with the coaches and kids from Giffnock Soccer Centre at their pitches in Glasgow. GSC have been supporting Johari for a number of years both financially and through donations of football strips and boots. It was great for the coaches and children from GSC to meet Regina and hear how their donations have helped the kids and young adults on our Miale Projects. Regina also watched some of the younger children during their Saturday morning training sessions!


    On Sunday Regina met with teachers Vickie, Joanne and Alan who visited the Miale Projects in Kenya in 2013 . Their respective schools; Graeme High and Bo’ness Public have developed a strong relationship with Johari. They spent the day sightseeing in Stirling and enjoyed some lunch and a catch up! Regina loved learning about the history of Stirling Castle.


    For the next two days of her trip, Regina spent time at Graeme High School in Falkirk with Vickie and Joanne. She had the opportunity to observe various classes such as Art, PSE and Drama and learnt about the Pupil Support systems they have in place; something Regina felt should be more present in Kenyan schools. She also enjoyed a lunch with Vickie and the pupils from Cute as a Button Craft Group who make various jewellery items to sell and raise funds for Johari. Another exciting aspect of her time spent at Graeme High was meeting the staff and pupils from the 'Bike Academy' which is a great initiative helping pupils to develop skills in bike maintenance. Regina came away with lots of ideas on how to establish a similar scheme within our Miale Projects and is looking forward to developing our relationship further with Graeme High. After school Regina managed to make a flying visit to the Falkirk Wheel before dinner with Vickie and Joanne!



    On the second last day of her visit, Regina visited Bo’ness Public School with Laura and Ruth where she spent time in various classes including the Primary Three’s who have been busy fundraising for Johari over the past few months. Both staff and pupils loved hearing Regina talk about Kenya and they had lots of questions for her, especially ones involving African animals! Regina also got the chance to learn some Scottish Country Dancing before she left BPS! It was then straight off to dinner with Lesley Carroll, H.T at Grame High with Vickie and Joanne where Regina experienced her first taste of haggis and our national drink; Irn Bru! She loved it!



    As quickly as she’d arrived it was time to head back to the airport to catch her flight back to Kenya. A jam packed week but we’d all had a great time catching up and developing future projectsThe schools and organisations she visited were all very encouraged by her enthusiasm and found it beneficial to hear first-hand how their support is helping the children and young adults on our Miale Projects. Regina made a great impact on the people she met and they are all inspired to continue supporting Johari. However it wasn’t just the people Regina met who benefitted from the visit. Regina was overwhelmed by the warm welcome she received from everybody she met during her week in Scotland.

    “I want to express my deep appreciation for the support and the great times we had during my visit. It was the trip of of a life time and was a wonderful learning experience and a real eye opener. I consider myself very fortunate for having a chance to get such an exposure and I really value the knowledge and insight gained and your willingness to share it with me. Visiting the schools and organisations who are helping to support Johari have truly inspired me to work with sincerity and dedication. I feel more energized than ever and am looking forward to sharing my experience with our Miale kids.Thank you once again to all for this great gift.”
    Regina Wambui - Johari Social Development Manager

    Posted by Foundation on April 2, 2014 3:18 PM

    Shortlisted Entries for Johari Seedlings Design Competition 2014

    We had a fantastic array of designs this year for the Johari Seedlings Design Competition. Here are all the entries that made the shortlist. Can you see yours?!


    Posted by Foundation on April 2, 2014 2:03 PM

    Winners of Johari Seedlings Design Competition 2014!

    A hard task faced Lorraine Kelly when she was invited to judge the Johari Seedlings Design Competition for the second year. With a fantastic array of designs to choose from in each of the three categories it was a very difficult decision for Lorraine. However, she chose the designs that she felt stood out because they were bold, powerful and had a strong African influence.


    "It was so difficult to choose the winners. The standard was really high and it's clear how much hard work and effort went into every single entry. They are all brilliant and really capture the spirit of Africa" Lorraine Kelly

    The Johari team are delighted with the choices that she made and are looking forward to seeing the winning and runners up designs go into production at the studio in Kenya during April.

    The winners and runners up will receive a certificate and t-shirt with their design. They will also have the chance to model for the Seedlings shop on the Johari website.

    100% of the profit from the sale of these t-shirts will be helping to support children through the Johari Foundation's Miale Social Development Projects in Kenya.

    Well done to all schools and organisations who took part in the competition, including Bankier, St Ninian's, Slamannan, St Mary's, St Andrew's, George Heriots, Bo'ness Public, Hillcrest Nairobi and Kinghorn Primary Schools, Bo'ness Academy and Graeme High and also Broom Sunbeams. Images of the shortlisted designs will be posted on the website very soon!









    There were so many fantastic entries this year that we have even chosen three 'Johari's Choice' designs which will be used to expand our collections later in the year! The three designs are;



    JOHARI'S CHOICE: PUPIL, HILLCREST SCHOOL NAIROBI (Pupils had a fun day at Johari Designs printing their own t-shirts)

    Posted by Foundation on March 13, 2014 1:59 PM

    Johari Fashion Show at Kinghorn Primary School

    Kinghorn Primary School ran a fashion show to raise awareness of Johari's Seedlings Collection during Fair Trade Fortnight. The Pupil Governors comprising of pupils nominated from each class organised the event along with teacher, Katherine Turner.

    The children were involved in a number of activities including;

  • Promotion of the event through posters and ticket sales
  • Researching Johari so they could develop a script
  • Choreography of fashion show
  • Modeling the t-shirts, manning the stalls on the evening and taking photographs
  • The older children compered the event; describing the prints on the Seedlings t-shirts and highlighting how the involvement of the school and the participation of the audience was helping provide valuable support for the Miale Projects. The models displayed confidence and engaged the audience as they danced along the catwalk showing off the fantastic Johari Seedlings range of t-shirts.

    Following the fashion show there was an opportunity to purchase products from the Johari stall and we are delighted to say that the Seedlings t-shirts and accessories were very popular!

    The Pupil Governors also ran a Fair Trade tuck shop during Fair Trade Fortnight and the money from this and the proceeds from the fashion show ticket sales are all being donated to the Miale Projects. Look out for more news coming soon on the total raised and what specific Miale Project this money will help support.



    Posted by Foundation on February 24, 2014 10:59 AM

    Johari in Artifacts Magazine!

    Artifacts Magazine featured long-term Johari supporters, Graeme High School and 'Cute as a Button' craft group in their recent newsletter! The article highlights the various ways Graeme High School have been supporting Johari and includes Vickie and Joanne's thoughts and experiences on their trip to Kenya to visit our Miale Projects.

    Read the full article here!


    Posted by Foundation on February 3, 2014 3:38 PM

    Calling all budding young designers

    Here is a fun and exciting way for children to show off their artistic talents and get involved in supporting vulnerable children in Kenya. The Johari Seedlings Design Competition, now in it's third year is aimed at budding young designers between the ages of 5 to 16 years. The aim is to design a print to be printed on a t-shirt which will become part of the Johari Seedlings collection. The winners will have their design featured on a t-shirt and/or bag and sold through the Johari online store. They will get the opportunity to model their winning design and see their t shirts sold in outlets across the UK as well as feature in fashion shows. The winners will receive a certificate and a complimentary t-shirt with their design. This year, for the second year running, celebrity judge, Lorraine Kelly will be judging the competition.

    The competition is running during Fair Trade Fortnight (24th February to 9th March) and the closing date for all designs is 18th March. For your Teaching Aid and Design Template please contact Johari.

    Posted by Foundation on October 2, 2013 10:49 AM

    George Heriot's Volunteering Experience

    A newly formed partnership between Johari Foundation and George Heriot's School, Edinburgh has enable as S6 pupils to volunteer our time to help out. It's great to help such a lovely charity and support a great cause.Since joining back in August, our main goal has been to fundraise to support Johari's Miale Projects in Kenya. This has so far led us to -

  • Liase with teachers at our school to research potential fundraising opportunities
  • Present to pupils informing them of the work of Johari Foundation
  • Our time at Johari every Wednesday has included -

  • Organising Johari outfits for fashion shows
  • Pricing and tagging items for sales stalls
  • Sorting and counting donated items to send out to Kenya
  • There are a variety of tasks that we will be getting involved in, in the coming weeks which we are looking forward to helping with

    On the night of October 10, over a hundred S6 pupils at George Heriot's School will be sleeping out in our 'especially creepy quadrangle' in order to raise money for charity. Johari Foundation will be one of three charities benefiting from this night of pure torture. Expect a lot of grumpy teenagers with aching backs in Edinburgh the next morning!

    Future plans for fundraising and sales of Johari's Ethical product range include -

  • Sales stalls in Heriot's staffroom during the run up to Christmas
  • Stall at the Heriot's Christmas Fair on the 30th of November
  • Overall, we are thoroughly happy to be a part of charity that not only helps people in Kenya but also makes clever use of social enterprise to fund these activities.

    Ketaki and Charlie, S6, George Heriot's School

    Posted by Foundation on May 17, 2013 9:31 AM

    Johari Seedlings 2013 Collection Out Now!

    The winning designs from the Johari Seedlings Design Competition is now available to buy! The competition is entering its third season and for the past two years has received a helping hand from young talent in Scottish Schools and youth organisations to expand the range of kids clothing. The Johari Seedlings Design Competition is aimed at school children between the ages of 5 and 16 has unearthed some wonderful artistic talent. The children were given a brief to come up with a design influenced by the African landscape, culture or people. The competition is not only designed to encourage creativity, but to highlight African culture and help develop good global citizens through cultural learning and influences and consideration of how taking positive action can help improve the life of others.

    This year the shortlisted entries were judged by Celebrity judge; Lorraine Kelly. Lorraine faced a difficult task when choosing from the amazing design entries, but selected a range of designs that work beautifully as a collection. The winning designs were sent to Johari in Kenya where printing and production took place in our production facilities. Pupils from Graeme High in Falkirk, Broom Sunbeams in Newton Mearns and Bucksburn Academy in Aberdeen will now see their winning designs being sold on and through various retail outlets with 100% of any profit generated from sales helping support the children on Johari Foundation’s Miale Social Development Programmes in Kenya.

    Head on over to see the wonderful collection at


    Posted by Foundation on March 27, 2013 1:42 PM

    The Winners Of Johari Seedlings Design Competition 2013 Judged By Lorraine Kelly!

    A hard task faced Lorraine Kelly when she was invited to judge this years Johari Seedlings Design Competition. With a fantastic array of designs to choose from in each of the three categories it was very difficult decision for Lorraine. However she chose the designs that she felt stood out because they were bold, powerful and had a strong African influence. The Johari team are delighted with the choices that she made and are looking forward to seeing the winning and runners up designs go into production at the studio in Kenya during April.

    The winners and runners up will receive a certificate and t-shirt with their design. They will also have the chance to model for the Seedlings shop on the Johari website.

    100% of the profit from the sale of these t-shirts will be helping to support children through the Johari Foundation's Miale Social Development Programmes in Kenya.

    Well done to everyone who took part in the competition, images of the shortlisted designs will be posted on the website very soon!








    Posted by Foundation on March 13, 2013 12:58 PM

    Star Guest Judge For Seedlings Design Competition!

    We are delighted to announce that Lorraine Kelly will be judging the Johari Seedlings Design Competition this year! TV host, Lorraine will choose winners for each of the three age categories, she will have a tough job as there are lots of great entries coming in!

    If you know of any aspiring young designers aged between 5 and 16 years old who would like to take part then please visit for all the details.

    The competition deadline is the 22nd of March. We would love for as many schools and organisations to take part as well as individuals so please spread the word!


    Posted by Foundation on March 4, 2013 5:11 PM

    Bo'ness Public School Johari Fashion Show Success!

    Bo’ness Public School, P3 Class showed off their many talents on Friday 1st March during their Fashion Show which was organised to tie in with Fair Trade Fortnight, promote the Johari Seedlings collection and raise funds for Johari Foundation. It was a great success!

    005.JPG 009.JPG

    Alan Potters P3 teacher said, ‘Planning and getting ready for the Fashion Show started just after the Christmas Holidays. I wanted every child in P3 to be involved and they had the choice of 3 jobs. They could be models, readers or work behind the scenes.

  • Those who choose to be models visited the Johari website and choose the outfit they wanted to model. Being able to choose their outfit made the children more confident and even more eager to put on the show.

  • The readers read the descriptions available about each of the clothes on the Johari website and wrote their own scripts. These were then read out during the show, when the models were modelling the outfits.

  • The children who were a bit more reluctant to be in the lime-light worked behind the scenes. Some helped on the night collecting tickets at the door, selling raffle tickets and making/serving tea and biscuits.

  • Rehearsals took place once a week and increased to three times a week prior to the event. The models learnt some simple dance routines to dance to, while they modelled their clothes, while the readers learned how to express themselves, pace their reading and speak clearly.

    All of the children put 100% effort into their job making this a real team effort. Staff and parents also helped behind the scenes and some even became models! There was a real sense of community, having all parties involved in this event.’

    Tickets for the event sold very quickly and the evening was a huge success. The children, staff and parents put their heart and soul into putting this show together and it went down a treat with the audience. The children left on a high, very very excited about the whole experience, while the parents left being very proud of their children and the achievements.
    Many parents spoke very positively about the event. They commented on how it was a great night and how great it was to see children so young (7 years old) not only performing but also running the whole show! Other parents were delighted to see staff being up on stage with their children willing to take part and do their bit too for Johari.


    The event has been so successful that P2 have already been practising their modelling moves in the playground, in case they are in with a chance to be models next year! Mr Potters said, ‘After the success of this event, I think it’s fair to say, this will be an annual event at Bo’ness Public School. If any teacher is thinking about doing something with their class for charity I would highly recommend them considering this project. The kids and parents will love it! We raised over £500 from the Fashion Show for Johari Foundation and sales of Johari products were in the region of £400.’

    Posted by Foundation on February 25, 2013 2:15 PM

    A Class Act - P3 Bo'ness Public support Johari Foundation and Fairtrade

    Bo'ness Public School have been involved with Johari Foundation since 2010 and have been helping raise funds to support the Miale Programmes in Kenya.

    In 2010 the school also became a Fairtrade School. To maintain Fairtrade status the school need to achieve 5 goals each academic year. These goals include -

  • Have a Fairtrade Committee of staff, pupil and parents and hold at least 3 meetings per year.
  • Promote Fairtrade through learning and teaching in at least 3 subject areas
  • Promote the use of Fairtrade products in school
  • Promote the use of Fairtrade products in the community
  • Organise an event during Fairtrade Fortnight
  • Mr Potters and his Primary 3 class are currently responsible for achieveing these targets.

    In early September 2012 Primary 3 nominated Johari Foundation as their class charity. Having already participated in some fundraising events for Johari Foundation they were aware of how their fundraising efforts could help make a difference to vulnerable children in Kenya. They had also heard about Johari Foundation's social enterprise; Johari Designs which works to fair trade practices and Mr Potters had suggested that working with Johari could help the school achieve it's Fairtrade targets in a fun, entertaining and educational way.

    Here is Primary 3's journey so far in working towards their targets.

    Meeting Goal 1

    Ruth, Laura and Charity from Johari Foundation visited our class to tell us about Johari Foundation, the Miale Programmes and Johari Designs. We enjoyed hearing about the children and wanted to do more to help and also liked the things Johari Designs make. We also saw Zoe one of the P4 pupils in our school get her Seedlings t-shirt as she was one of the winners of the Johari Seedlings Design Competition in 2012. We thought that we would be able to help Johari Foundation. So, at one of our meetings we planned to have a Fairtrade event to tie in with Fairtrade Fortnight and decided to organise a Johari Fashion Show modelling the Johari Seedlings clothing. That way we could promote Johari whilst helping raise funds for the Miale Programmes.

    Meeting Goal 2

    As part of our Social Studies we were able to learn the features of a map and find both Scotland and Kenya on a World Map. We explored features of the Scottish landscape and compared these to the landscape of Kenya. We also looked at the differences in food, compared housing, the weather and impact on the climate.

    As part of our Expressive Art programme we have been learning short dance routines which we will use when modelling the Seedlings range during the Fashion Show.

    During Rehersal

    Fashion%20Show%202.jpg Picture3.jpg

    To help with our Language skills we have been learning to read scripts and describe the clothing we are going to model.This is difficult as we have to think about reading pace, emphasis on words and making sure that we speak clearly so the audience will be able to understand us. We are also working on note taking so that we can do a write up after the event and hold a press conference about what we have done and how much we have raised.

    Meeting Goals 3-5

    It's only a few days now until our Johari Fashion Show. We are all very excited but a bit nervous too. As it's Fairtrade Fortnight we are pleased that we are able to hold the Johari Fashion during this time. We will not only be promoting Johari we will also be selling Fairtrade tea, coffee and biscuits on the night. As the event in open to the community we are able to meet lots of goals at once.

    We have had great fun working with Johari Foundation and can't wait to model the Johari Seedlings range on Friday 1st March, we have even got some of our teachers to model the Johari ladieswear collection and it will be fun seeing them. Later on in March we will hold a coffee morning to raise more funds for Johari Foundation. We hope to have a big cheque to hand over to Johari Foundation for the Miale Programmes at the end March and look forward to hearing how the children on the Miale programmes in Kibera and Kandara are benefitting from our fundraising efforts.

    Posted by Foundation on February 4, 2013 3:54 PM

    Barney Bear Returns From Kenya

    Barney Bear from Kinghorn Primary returned safe and well from his trip to Kenya last week full of stories about his time spent with the children on the Miale Programmes!

    Barney was a busy bear visiting CSP during the monthly food distribution, spending time with the children in Kandara whilst they had their Christmas Party and he even managed a quick trip to the Johari Designs workshop where the team made him a custom made Johari t shirt and cap!

    Tucking In During The Food Distribution At CSP

    At The Christmas Party In Kandara

    Rocking His New Johari T Shirt And Cap!

    He will be returning to Kinghorn Primary tomorrow where the pupils (and staff!) can't wait to see him. He took lots of photographs on his trip as well as wrote a diary, with a little help from the children on the Miale Programmes!

    Posted by Foundation on January 21, 2013 12:55 PM

    Johari Seedlings Design Competition 2013 Now Open!

    Following on from the success of last years competition, Johari Foundation is running a children’s t-shirt design competition and would love for as many children as possible to take part. We are looking for children to design a print to be used on a Johari Seedlings t-shirt that will be added to our current children’s clothing range. The competition is open to all children between the ages of 5 to 16 years.

    If your child/ school/organisation would like to take part please visit for more details regarding the competition as well as a look at the winners and shortlisted designs from last year.


    Posted by Foundation on December 17, 2012 11:43 AM

    Anna's Day on the Johari Sales Stand!

    Anna, aged 6 from George Heriot's School in Edinburgh recently held a Johari sales event in her house as well as at the George Heriot's Christmas Fair! Anna prepared for the events by handing out Johari invitations to all her family and friends at school as well as showing her classmates some "About Me" books made by some of the children on the Miale Programmes.

    She had a brilliant time setting up the display stand, packaging up purchases and counting up the money made from the sales! Between the Johari Party at her house and the Christmas Fair a massive £903 was made which is an incredible amount!


    Anna says "I had fantastic fun helping to sell Johari clothes and jewellery"

    It's so encouraging to see children have such a strong desire to get involved and help out. A massive thank you Anna and her Mum, Elizabeth for all your hard work and effort!


    Posted by Foundation on November 29, 2012 12:08 PM

    Bo'ness Public School P3 Class adopt Johari Foundation for Class Charity

    Johari Foundation has a long established relationship with staff and pupils at Bo’ness Public Primary School. In September the Primary 3 class enjoyed a visit from Foundation volunteer Charity Ndwiga. This provided a great opportunity for the children to ask questions as Johari Foundation is the class chosen charity this year. The children have lots of fundraising ideas and they will be participating in lots of information exchanges with their friends on the Miale Programmes in Kenya.


    To support the children in developing their money management skills the class are participating in the “micro-Tyco Challenge”, which is a national enterprise challenge run by WildHearts. A trial run at the school saw an initial investment of £1 realising a profit of £91.60 through the sale of cakes, juice and Christmas Cards. The children will donate the profit from this event to Johari Foundation. In addition to this the children are planning a range of events to promote Fairtrade. They will be selling Fairtrade products and any profit from these events will also be donated to Johari Foundation. The main event will be a fashion show which the children will help to organise featuring Johari clothing and accessories. This will take place on March 1st to tie in with Fairtrade Fortnight. Look out for updates on the childrens fundraising ventures in the coming weeks.

    Posted by Foundation on July 3, 2012 12:29 PM

    Well Deserved Day Trip for Johari Foundation, Kenya

    After a busy and demanding few months Johari Foundation, Kenya took some time out to relax and have fun whilst continuing to strengthen our abilities to work together as a team.

    The staff day out took place at Nairobi Aboretum where we started off with some team games.


    Then we started racing..........Burn those calories!


    Still more calorie burning........


    Then we started on some balance competitions......


    and things got a bit tricky........


    So we took a well deserved break ourselves to refuel!


    Posted by Foundation on June 20, 2012 2:48 PM

    Seedlings Design Competition - Winners

    A hard task faced Patsy Perry, Fashion Retail Marketing Lecturer at Heriot Watt University when she was invited to judge the Johari Seedlings Design Competition. With a fantastic array of designs to choose from in each of the three categories it was difficult decision for Patsy. However she chose the designs that she felt stood out because they were bold, powerful and had a strong African influence. The Johari team are delighted with the choices that she made and are looking forward to seeing the winning designs go into production at the studio in Kenya during July.

    The winners have been notified and look forward to having the chance to model their designs for the Seedlings shop on the Johari website in late August.

    100% of the profit from the sale of these t-shirts will be helping to support children through the Johari Foundation's Miale Social Development Programmes in Kenya.

    Well done to everyone who took part in the competition, images of the shortlisted designs will be posted on the website.

    Look out for more information coming soon on the 2013 Seedlings Design Competition.

    Winner 5-7 Category from Bo'ness Public School

    Winner 8-12 Category from Graeme High School

    Winner 13-16 Category from Graeme High School

    Additional design chosen because of it's general appeal from Kinghorn Primary School

    Posted by Foundation on June 18, 2012 11:57 AM

    Creating Global Citizens

    At the end of May we paid a visit to Kinghorn Primary School in Fife. The school have been helping Johari Foundation to promote the work of the charity and to raise funds to support children on the Miale Programmes.

    The pupils have been busy pulling together photographs and information of; school life at Kinghorn and the town itself so that it can be sent out to Kenya to share with the children they are helping to support through their fundraising activities. Kinghorn pupils were excited to receive projects and toys made by children from Miale Child Support and Outreach Programmes as they help to build a picture of life in Kenya. Sharing infomation, photographs and projects is proving successful in building relationsips between school children in Scotland and Kenya and supporting Global Citizenship within the two countries.

    Kinghorn Primary donated pencil cases full of pencils, rubbers, sharpners and rulers to send to their friends in Kenya to assist them at school. This was after hearing how one pencil is often snapped in 3 to make sure that all children have something to write with.

    Thanks for your continued suppport Kinghorn Primary!


    Posted by Foundation on May 23, 2012 12:47 PM

    Seedlings Design Competition for School Children

    Inspiring young designers aged between 5-16 years are showing off their design flair by creating some wonderful designs for the Johari Seedlings Design Competition. We have received entries from schools and organisations in the UK and Kenya. For those of you who still want to enter, there is still time to forward designs to us as before the closing date of 31st May 2012.

    This is a great opportunity for children to get involved in helping to support Johari Foundation and be creative at the same time. The winning entrants will see their t-shirts incorporated into the Johari Seedlings range and will have the opportunity to model their design.

    Patsy Perry, Lecturer in Management (specialising in fashion marketing) from Heriot Watt University will be judging the entries.

    Posted by Maureen on April 25, 2012 12:21 PM

    Visitors have fun at Miale CSP


    We had visitors at the centre during the April holidays and the new kids were so excited to meet the wonderful team. They shared lovely moments dancing and chatting together.
    Laura had a difficult time trying some salsa moves of which she faced the repercussions later! We received donations for the children which included: toothbrush, underpants and rewards for the best performers. Faith Adhiambo and Dunstan Ochieng former form four students were awarded for performing well in their final exams.
    The kids also presented different poems, play and showed some of their art products. The music club shared their wonderful dancing styles which left our guests breathless. Thank you for the awesome time!!



    Posted by Foundation on April 17, 2012 3:02 PM

    Seedlings Design Competition - Entries start to arrive...

    Inspiring young designers aged between 5-16 years are showing off their design flair by creating some wonderful designs for the Seedlings Design Competition. Entries are coming in from schools and organisations in the UK and Kenya and there is still time to forward designs to us as before the closing date of 31st May 2012.

    This is a great opportunity for children to get involved in helping to support Johari Foundation and be creative at the same time. The winning entrants will see their t-shirts incorporated into the Johari Seedlings range and will have the opportunity to model their design.

    Here's a sneak peak at a few designs recieved already -


    Posted by Foundation on April 9, 2012 3:21 PM

    Fundraising success at Merchiston School

    Amazing surroundings and a bright and unusually balmy Spring evening helped set the scene for a successful fundraising event at Merchiston School in Edinburgh on 22nd March .

    Ruaraidh Drummond a sixth form pupil organised and project managed the event to raise funds for Johari Foundation and raise awarness and sales of the Johari clothing brand. Supported by pupils from St Georges and Merchiston Schools who modelled the clothing and jewellery, Ruaraidh was able to stage a fantastic event.

    Drinks and canapes were served on arrival and Willie Watt, Chief Executive of Martin Currie Investment Management and Trustee of Johari Foundation highlighted the role of Johari Foundation in helping to support child education and self sustainability to vulnerable children and young adults in Kenya.

    The models looking elegant and stunning in the Johari range as they paraded down the catwalk to the delight of the audience. Afterwards there was the opportunity to purchase items from the Johari sales stand.

    The event raised £400 in donations for Johari Foundation and about the same again in Johari sales. A BIG THANK YOU to Ruaraidh, his friends and the school for helping to support Johari Foundation.

    Posted by Foundation on February 7, 2012 12:52 PM

    Giffnock Soccer Centre Step up to support Johari Foundation

    In September 2011 nearly 100 children from Giffnock Soccer Centre took part in the Great Scottish Run. The aim was to run 3k and raise money for Save the Children and Johari Foundation. The children raised a fantastic amount and were able to make a donation of £1,000 to help the children on our Miale Social Development programmes in Kenya.

    The children at Giffnock Soccer Centre also regulary donate their Football strips to the Foundation. These are put to good use during football training and tournaments run by Kids Joy Sports Development programme.

    It's great that a common activity can unite children from very different backgrounds.

    Thanks Giffnock Soccer Centre from all at Johari Foundation!


    Posted by Foundation on January 31, 2012 10:11 AM

    Generous Donation from Martin Currie Charitable Foundation

    In January 2012 Johari Foundation received a fantastic donation from Martin Currie Charitable Foundation of £19,000. This donation was from funds raised as a result of the Martin Currie Rob Roy Challenge an exciting fundraising event which takes place along the spectacular Rob Roy Way. The 2011 event raised an amazing £352,000; 75% was distributed between the principle Rob Roy Challenge partners and the remaining 25% was distributed to a select group of junior partners of which Johari Foundation is one. We welcome the ongoing support from Martin Currie Charitable Foundation. The support and financial assistance helps Johari Foundation deliver long-term commitment to the children on our Miale Programmes.

    Posted by Foundation on December 8, 2011 12:38 PM

    Schools support Johari Seedlings

    The lovely new Johari Seedlings collection has been making it's debut at school Christmas Fayre's throughout the country. The printed t-shirts, bags and beautiul Halima Doll with Baby have all been proving popular!

    Thank you to Bo'ness Public, Craigclowan and Kinghorn Primary for show-casing the products hand-made by Johari Designs in Kenya. The profit made from the sale of Johari products will help to fund the Johari Foundations Miale Programmes.

    Check out the Johari website!

    Posted by Foundation on June 29, 2011 4:07 PM

    Increasing support to create a brighter future for others

    Martin Currie, one of Johari Foundation's partner companies hosted an event on the 8th June to raise awareness of the Miale Programmes in Kenya. People from all walks of life attended the event to hear how the social development and enterprise programmes are delivering hope for a brighter future. Many of the guests offered to help Johari Foundation with future activities and events and the Johari pop-up-shop was a great success with lots of sales during the evening.


    Posted by Maureen on December 6, 2010 11:19 AM

    David and Tom in action during the ASA


    Posted by Foundation on November 24, 2010 2:01 PM

    Johari Foundation wins Glasgow Caledonian University International Award

    Johari Foundation won the Glasgow Caledonian University International Award at Scotland’s International Awards Dinner on Friday 19th November. David Sibbald who was there to pick up this award for Philanthropic and Educational Achievement said, “This is wonderful recognition for the work of Johari Foundation in Kenya and here in Scotland. We work very closely with the children and young adults we support in Kenya and can see positive progressive changes in their health, education and outlook for the future.”

    Posted by Maureen on July 21, 2010 9:43 AM

    Sean Walls visits Miale Programme


    Sean Walls visit Miale Programme
    Miale children were so excited to meet with Sean. It was good to take him through what we do in Kibera. He came on Wednesday when we normally have the food distribution; so he got to see what the children take back home. He also had a chat with some of the children.
    Sean is doing a great job! He is organizing a medical camp for the Miale children which will take place at Ayany Primary School in July. The children with eye problems will get a medical check up and get free glasses.
    I am looking forward to this day, all the children in Ayany primary school will have their eyes checked. Most children have eye problems but because of lack of resources they are unable to seek medical attention. May God bless you Sean; you will make so many children smile on that day.

    Posted by Regina on May 26, 2010 2:04 PM

    Charity visits Miale Outreach

    Charity thought being in the field would be fun until I decided to go out with her! We woke up early and travelled for about 2 hours before we reached our first stop - Githunguri secondary. We heard from teachers that Mercy a form one pupil who is in Miale was doing very well at school. After that we visited Githuguri primary school where we paid the fees for the pupils at the school and asked about the progress of the children. The head teacher Mr. James Kariuki informed us that all the children were doing well in school and he had not noted any problem with them. Home visits followed and we had to walk long distances from one home to the other. Charity was very tired after all the visits and walkingthrough the mud and rain.

    Posted by Regina on May 5, 2010 1:14 PM

    About Regina

    Regina Wambui is the Social Development Manager with a key role of driving the development and expansion of the Social Development programmes.
    My work involves management of Social Development Programs on a day to day basis, ensuring program development, smooth running and that we remain focused to achieving our main goal which is to see all kids in the program develop to become responsible and self reliant in future.
    For the last one year I have been in the organization, we have developed and expanded Miale community programs following the CSP model and have established Miale outreach program based in Kandara – Central Part of Kenya. Youth Empowerment program has just begun with the first students joining vocational training in their various localities to enable them become progressive members of the community and ensure continuity of the apprentice program in the Johari Designs.
    It’s exciting to see the programs grow as well as kids especially with the excellent team players running the programs. The social development team works as a family, determined to support and empower the most vulnerable children in the society and make a difference in their lives.
    What makes each day great and complete is when I get to see smiles on the faces of the children. This sends a message of hope and future. The quest to develop these programs to assist many children in the best way possible is the best and perfect satisfaction of my life.
    I’m a Higher National Diploma graduate in Community Development and Social Work with an experience of over 9 years in both community and social development projects. My desire is to gain more knowledge through learning and exposure in order to create positive change to the community and develop sustainable Social projects.

    Posted by Lydia on May 3, 2010 8:18 AM

    About Lydia Chege

    Lydia Chege is the Johari Business Manager with a key role of driving the success of the Johari Brand.

    My work entails managing the day to day activities of the Johari social enterprise, to make certain that we remain focused to achieving the set targets.
    For the last two years that I have been with the organization, we have grown to a ready to wear fashion house aiming to have a presence in all major cities of the world. It has been an exciting process working with a talented team comprising of: Kenya and UK Staff, volunteers and the wonderful girls in the Apprenticeship program, to create a label with a promising future. We have a high level design and production process that see to it that we come up with a fine end product.
    With the understanding that pursuit of new creative ideas is what drives a successful fashion industry, we recently launched our 2nd collection: Johari Spring Summer Collection 2010 which was the fruits of a hard working and a dedicated team. This has paid back with an overwhelming positive response across the world. We are therefore confident that with the same spirit, our brand can only get better.
    Johari stands out as a Social enterprise with a difference; determined to succeed so as to make a difference in someone’s life. What drives me is the understanding that Johari optimal profitability will mean more funds to the Miale programs and more opportunities for young adults.
    I am a graduate, MSK certified with over 10 years experience in both social and commercial projects. My goal is to expand my knowledge and exposure on building and sustaining successful social

    Posted by Maureen on April 28, 2010 8:44 AM

    About Maureen

    Maureen is the Programme Coordinator/ Social worker of Miale Child Support Programme. I love to work with children and the community. I have been in Miale for the last 2 years. My work entails: making sure the feeding programme runs smoothly, follow up on the children both in school and at home, and ensuring the children get their requirements like uniform, shoes, and monthly supply, offering psychosocial support to both the children and the guardians, making sure the children are in good health, guidance and counselling to the adolescents, managing both the community workers and the suppliers.

    Working and supporting the Orphans and Vulnerable children (OVCs) in Kibera community gives me satisfaction, and at the end of the day putting a smile on a child’s face makes me feel complete and happy. My best moment is when we have talks with the children, whereby they get to express themselves, and i get to learn so much from them. We also talk about life, their experiences and what they want to become when they are young adults. I am a good listener and try to help the children come up with solutions to their daily problems and challenges. The children are also taught to respect themselves and others and we try to mould them to become better people in the society.

    Life in the Kibera slums is challenging but with positive thinking, and good relations with the people I work with as well as the children, everything runs smoothly. I care so much about children’s education and so I advocate for them, encourage them to work hard and have good grades. I value happiness, health and education of a child and encourage them to work hard so that they can become independent in future.

    I have a social education background with over five years experience in social work. I am currently pursuing a BA in sociology and communication at the University of Nairobi. My goal is to gain more experience, exposure and to use the skills that I have to bring a positive social change in my community.

    Posted by Foundation on January 26, 2009 11:37 AM

    A Soapy Snippet

    The economic downturn has hit the world hard, and Kenya is no exception.
    President Mwai Kibaki declared a national disaster last week, and has asked foreign donors to bail out the country to stave off a looming a famine that could affect up to 10 million people, or about a quarter of the country.

    The crisis is mostly confined to the rural areas, where many survive predominantly off their own crops. But they now face starvation after the rains failed, while the government has provided little support.

    In Nairobi, people have their own problems as costs rise dramatically -- basic foodstuffs are up 30-50% from a year ago. Finance is a hot topic, with politicians defending their generous salaries and tax-free allowances -- more than $10,000 a month, making them some of the highest paid politicians in the world in a country where many people survive on as little as $1 a day -- as teachers strike over pay, school costs rise and people struggle to meet their basic needs.

    But it is not all gloom, especially at the Sumerian Foundation. The new year promises to be an exciting one, with much progress already made. We are fortunate to have such superb supporters, who are helping us to grow, even though times are hared for them, and for that we are deeply appreciative.

    A snippet on soaps

    Johari Naturals is progressing well towards a springtime launch. Over the next few weeks, the Naturals team will focus on extracting lemongrass essential oil – we have two harvests that are being dried, which we will distil to produce essential oil, in turn providing excellent data for research. We are being assisted by the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, who have kindly donated use of equipment and space.

    In early February, we will blend the essential oil into our next batch of soaps. We are gathering feedback on earlier samples from knowledgeable and helpful people (thank you knowledgeable and helpful people!), and this batch should be even better. Feedback from the second batch in March will ensure our product is of an even higher quality.

    Watch this space for Johari soap.
    We are confident it will be a must-have for anyone who has skin, and the knowledge that the profits will be used to empower people to help them weather any crisis -- such as the one we are facing -- is something we should take seriously.
    The sun is shining brightly -- and even if this may seem a travesty to us rain-sodden, sun-starved Brits -- please pray for rain, because Kenya desperately needs it.

    Posted by Foundation on August 22, 2008 4:59 PM

    Alison on Kibera and Ayany Primary School

    Our first day volunteering with the Foundation and the sun is shining. James takes us to the Johari offices – 6 floors up with a broken lift! We meet all the crew and settle down to discuss the Children Support Project (CSP) run in Kibera with Jennie, Mary (Ngeri) and Stella. They seemed really impressed with what the children have created back home in terms of the scrap book material and letters, and are delighted with the children’s books donated by Julie Hegarty (a local Children’s author in Edinburgh).

    In the afternoon we all head off to Ayany primary school in Kibera; a sea of tin roofs filling a mile or so of steamy hillside on the south of the city. We arrive at the primary school to a near hero’s welcome, within seconds we are surrounded by hundreds of children, shouting, “How are you?” and wanting to shake our hands. This takes a while and then we head off the “afterschool room” for food handout.

    There are 2000 children in this primary school ranging from 6years to about 20. Primary education only became free in 2003, hence there are a lot of late starters.

    All of these children by any standards must be classed as vulnerable and “in need”, however the CSP programme has only places for 100. These children are selected because of various factors; almost all are orphans or partial orphans with little or no other means of support.

    In addition to providing school uniforms, shoes and stationary. The beginning of each month sees these children receive a monthly food package consisting of; rice, toothpaste, soap, flour, paraffin, tealeaves sugar oil and shoe polish. Twice a week they are given additional supplies (Wed and Fridays). Today each child is to receive one bag of lentils, 2 bunches of kale, 3 tomatoes, 3 onions, I bag porridge and one loaf of bread. (the onions and tomatoes are alternated with 2 oranges).

    The children arrive and are so grateful for the food; some of them’s hunger is apparent as they immediately demolish their loaves of bread in front of us. This is often because their carer or siblings will take the food from them and they have learned to make the most of what they have for self-preservation.

    In-between the younger children leaving and the older ones arriving we again get the chance to chat with the kids. Arsenal FC seems to be second only to God in Kibera with Man U a close third!

    We meet Emma, she is 14 years old but is the size of a small British 7 year old. She is HIV positive (by birth), and heartbreakingly tells us why she wears her HIV ribbon with pride, and the work she does out in the community education people on how HIV is contracted and how her life is still full of hope. Tears are in our eyes as she ends her story.

    Once food distribution was over we head into the heart of Kibera with the CSP team and a young boy called Jackson (who was featured in the foundation DVD) to visit his crippled mother and some of the other childrens’ homes thatwe had just met.

    How to describe Kibera? Bill Bryson once wrote- “ Whatever is the most awful place you have ever experienced, Kibera is worse”.

    Kibera is the biggest slum in Nairobi and probably Africa, nobody knows how many people live there, probably around a million, perhaps many more. At least 50,000 of the kids living here are AIDS orphans, again it could be a lot more. Nobody knows. Nothing about Kibera is certain or official, including its existence, it just is.

    Kibera is a random seemingly endless warren of rank narrow passageways between rows of frail, dirt floored hovels made of tin and mud, twigs and holes. Down the centre of lane runs a shallow trench with a trickle of water and things you don’t want to see or step in (the “mud” here is not mud as we know it at home). Flying toilets are common place and the whole area smells of rot. Families of 5 or six people live in single rooms about ten foot by ten foot; the lucky ones have mattresses; the others use dirty clothes to sleep on.

    The people we visited lived with very little food, no running water or sanitation, the constant presence of rats and assorted bugs….. however the surprising thing was the attitude of everyone ….. so positive and forward thinking, so full of hope and gratitude. Desperate for an education and to better themselves. Very Humbling.

    We spend quite a few days of our trip in Kibera with these children, running scrap book programmes, writing letters to children back in Scotland, making jewellery from paper, reading stories and drawing.

    The very young ones were enraptured by Julie’s book “Michelle” which she had kindly donated as many copies as we could carry, and having their own copy of the book was such a novelty it made their day!

    We worked with older groups writing leaflets on Africa and we got some amazing stuff on the Kenyan culture, food, sport, Kibera, fashion and wildlife – what an astonishing bunch and a great start to the Scrap book project.

    The older children concentrated on replying to the letter we had brought over from Scotland and they set about describing their life in Kenya and their hopes and dreams for the future.

    A profound and moving time was complete with a number of photos taken thanking their supporters “ Asante” then Aeolus, Edinburgh, etc from the kids. We departed with tears in our eyes, handshakes, tickles, cuddles, words of kindness and promises of future visits.

    We will be back!

    Posted by Foundation on August 22, 2008 4:54 PM

    A Treasurer Tale

    With the Sumerian Foundation now taking on funding from external parties it became essential to ensure that the accounting systems and records in Kenya were of a standard that would allow us to report the activities there quickly and accurately. It was proving an impossible task to do this from Scotland and so, as Treasurer of the Sumerian Foundation, I ventured forth to Nairobi and in particular to Studio House, the Sumerian Foundation in Kenya’s new home which was to become my home from home.

    Francis, our (finance) man in Kenya, had done a valiant job in trying to make sense of the various projects, their funding and their costs but needed help in pulling it all together in to a reporting framework and in establishing systems to control shop income and stock movements in particular and although the task is not yet complete we made significant inroads in to it.

    It would have been crazy to go all that way and not to have visited the various projects we support and so we spent most of Saturday doing a whistle stop tour. First off was Kandara Childrens Home (fabulous smiley children (even the one doing numbers in the classroom – one to tell the kids at home that these kids take their education very seriously indeed)). Despite the horrendous backgrounds of the children the overall feeling here was one of happiness and peace all in the most gorgeous setting on a lush hillside amongst lush hills. At Kandara we were also shown round the botanics project and sat in on an update session that Jennie was holding with the team there.

    We then headed back to Nairobi to the Ayani primary school to meet the Year 8s (young teens) which is the final year of primary school in Kenya. These children sit an exam in November which decides which secondary school they go to. I really struggled emotionally with this – the gulf between my over-cosseted teenagers and these kids was just so enormous and the whole injustice of it all really got to me. Here they were with absolutely nothing in the majority of cases, working incredibly hard to do as well as they can in these exams and yet the dream of getting to secondary school never mind to achieve their career ambitions will be just that for most of them as secondary education is not free in Kenya and even if they could afford the fees they would still need money for uniform, books, stationery, bus fares and food.

    Composure regained (although outlook on life seismically shifted) we went to visit Rosabella in her shop in Kibera (you would all recognize Rosabella from her graduation picture on the wall beside the water cooler in Edinburgh) – another unique experience as normal tourists would never have ventured in to the shopping area. The shop was tiny and I have no idea how she manages to lay out fabric to cut out the material in such a small space. Like everywhere in Kenya business is poor following the troubles at the start of 2008 as food prices are high so no one has any money to spend on life’s extras like clothes.

    On the following Tuesday I also managed to take in the Seed of Hope Centre in Nairobi and here I learned another valuable lesson for us Europeans. Because of the cost of the sewing machines, electricity and the intermittent nature of the electricity supply when the girls are given the seed funding to set up their own businesses they are given treadle machines however donations of machines tend to be electric which would be fantastic if you were setting up in Europe but not much use in Nairobi. Our way is not necessarily the best way.

    Then a quick visit to the Johari shop in Titan which is very different “in the flesh” from photos I had seen – when you see it in context it is a really lovely shop. This visit helped me understand what we could and could not achieve with our shop and stock systems.

    All work and no play as they say so Sunday morning James took Mel and I to the National Park for a safari which was stunning the only disappointment was we did not see the lions although we saw evidence of their existence - part of their last feast lying in the road. We did see almost every other species possible – even saw a real life scene of the ubiquitous picture of a giraffe grazing the top of a thorn tree. The bizarre thing was that we kept seeing glimpses of Nairobi and yet here we were on the African plains. We even went walkabout to a Hippo pool – not realizing we should have been with an armed ranger. We spent a good 20 minutes in the bush unarmed until he caught up with us. Luckily we never came across the animal responsible for the enormous piles of droppings we had to step around.

    All too soon it was time to return to Scotland although it is definitely au reviour to Kenya and not goodbye.

    Posted by Foundation on July 14, 2008 10:09 PM

    An African Adventure

    The ‘African Adventure’ event on Thursday 10th of July was an amazing success. Co-hosted with the Aeolus networking company, the Sumerian Foundation managed to not just raise awareness of the work being done, but also a whopping £20,000 in donations.

    Some fantastic lots were won in the auction, including a signed photograph of football sensation Pele and a safari holiday to Kenya. Johari’s lastest designs were modelled in the fashion show which went down a storm. We were even lucky enough to have this year’s Miss Kenya grace the runway in the newest dresses.

    The Johari jewellery was a great success among the guests, with sales of over £1,000.

    The evening saw also the premiere of a pretty amazing film about the Foundations work in Kenya produced and donated by Susan Doak of Century21Media, which was deeply touching and gave a great picture of the Foundation model and programmes.

    Singing superstar Sara Mitaru travelled all the way from Nairobi with her band to perform some of her greatest hits. Overall, the whole night was a huge hit from the African cuisine to the catwalk creations.

    Thanks to everyone who made it at special as it was.




    Posted by Foundation on June 25, 2008 10:24 AM

    A week in the life of a sumerian volunteer - Sarah Ager

    On saturday, Mel and James were there to meet me as I emerged from the airport bleary-eyed at 6am. Next stop the supermarket, and then back to the house for a shower and some breakfast. We spent the afternoon with James and his family ...loads of great food and playing games with the kids!...and then time to don the posh frock and head to the Nairobi Hilton for a Johari fashion show. (Only problem being that I didn’t have a posh frock so had to borrow one of Mel’s...let’s just say I couldn’t breath or bend!!)

    On Sunday morning Jeni came round and we planned the schedule for the rest of the week.
    After a quick lunch we then headed out of Nairobi to Kandara and spent the rest of the day, and overnight, at the children’s home there. We taught the kids how to play softball (the boys sneakily declared a victory while the girls were having a very important girlie chat in the batting line). Then there was football and french cricket. After wearing the kids out...we went to visit the younger kids (under 4’s). They enjoyed the Cadbury’s chocolate we’d bought them.Then it was time to watch Man Utd clinch the league title in the dining hall and help the kids to do their homework.

    On Monday morning it was time to meet Jeni and the Botanics crew and spend the morning getting an update on the status of the organic farming and soap production. Then after lunch we headed off to see the new land that the Foundation has bought ,near to Kandara, before travelling back into Nairobi to the new Foundation offices.

    My bean-counting period...we spent a lot of time over the next few days reviewing and working through the Foundation accounts, covering the last two years and this year. It was actually a great way of understanding in detail the history of each project, some of the challenges, and the plans for 08/09. I also visited both of the Johari shops and spent some time with the team to develop a Johari packaging strategy and Johari signature design and fabric.

    On Wednesday afternoon, we took some time out from bean-counting activities to go and visit the After School Programme at Ayani (a school on the edge of Kibira – Nairobi’s largest slum). We talked to the kids, teachers and programme workers and helped to hand out the weekly food packs.

    Post the daily bean-counting duties I went to visit one of the Seed of Hope centres – truly inspirational to meet all the girls and talk to them. Then a team night out...a chance to relax after a busy week.

    A trip back to Kibira to spend some time with Rosabella and her brother at Rosabella’s workshop. Followed by a light spot of accounting in the afternoon. A final team meal of eggs on toast (this was all we had left in the fridge by then!). And then it was time to head off to the airport and an overnight trip home.

    I can’t wait to go back!...

    Posted by Foundation on June 23, 2008 3:30 PM

    Susan's filming adventure in Kenya

    Early last year in 2007, a highly skilled, and creative friend of mine who works for
    Sumerian, asked if I would be willing to help plan a shoot in Kenya which would
    raise awareness of the Sumerian Foundation's self-sustaining social enterprise
    programme called Johari.

    I was introduced to the Foundation's Director Melanie van de Velde and I learned
    more about the Foundations enthusiastic aims to help support children in Kenya and
    help them to build a better future for themselves and their communities. I just knew
    I had to find out more and specifically HOW they were achieving this.

    My answer came in the form of two Minii DV tapes sent back from Kenya containing two
    hours of footage, which I cut into a 5minute DVD Promo, with scripting instructions
    from the foundation. The Johari fashion house was the social enterprise product
    whereby young girls who are put through the Seed of Hope program, are given the
    chance to make a living for themselves by working for Johari or alternatively for

    I thought the footage for the Promo spoke for itself, you just can't fake something
    that good coming out of Kenya. The people who were interviewed, from the students,
    to the teachers, all seemed very inspiring individuals with a passion for what they
    did, and the Promo DVD produced was testament to that.

    As a result of the continuing popularity and success of Johari, the range of the
    Foundation's programmes have grown. They are helping to develop 5 other programmes
    involving Kandara children's home and it's local business community, to name but one

    There are so many positive things happening right now, and so many opportunities
    being created whereby children, young people and adults are involved in developing
    and sustaining, education, opportunity, responsibility and the choice to create a
    better life for themselves and in the community in which they live. I was in Kenya
    recently filming these projects in action in order to portray a comprehensive
    overview of the work of the Sumerian Foundation. The result will be shown in a DVD
    presentation on July 10th at the "Aeolus African Adventure Event with the Sumerian
    Foundation" in Edinburgh.

    Personally speaking, the opportunity to be involved, and play a small part in
    something so big and overwhelmingly positive was, first of all, a joy, but secondly
    and most importantly, it revealed itself to be a journey of discovery. David
    Sibbald, Founder and Trustee of the Sumerian Foundation, hit the nail on the head
    when we spoke recently. He stated that the work of the Foundation"was absolutely a
    two way street."

    For me, in terms of give and take, I know that what I havetakenfrom my visit to
    Kenya, and those I interacted with, is, and always will be so much more than what I
    could ever hope togiveback in return. My journey reflects as one observed not just
    from the confines of behind a lens, but from interacting with people at grass roots
    and I discovered that the lessons inspired from the continuing resilience and
    optimism of those faced with everyday poverty are humbling lessons indeed. For not
    only, are the youth in Kenya being given a chance to empower their own lives and
    embark on a journey of self discovery, they have empowered within me, a discovery
    that my journey is only just beginning.



    Posted by Foundation on May 1, 2008 2:48 PM

    Jenny Deans volunteer trip (Edinburgh College of Art)

    I had a fantastic time in Kenya. Nairobi was a lot more western than I had imagined with lots of big office blocks in the centre. Quite different to some of the other areas which I visited..

    On the first day I travelled up to one of the Sumerian Foundations Seed of Hope Training Schools in Kariti, about an hour North of Nairobi, where they teach underprivileged teenage girls skills for dress making, and also teach them maths, business skills and about health issues. The girls also work in a rota system to clean and do the cooking for everyone at the school. The kitchen was a wooden shed just down the hill from the main building using open fires with large vat type pots to cook in. Two of the girls showed me around and I was amazed at how great their English was, they have all their lessons in English as it is the official language and have extra lessons to learn more of their native language Swahili. We also visited an orphanage at Kandara which the Foundation provides support for. There was one 2 month old baby who had been abandoned at the side of the road at the age of 2 weeks old, the police had found her and taken her to be looked after by the orphanage staff. It was great to see the more rural conditions in Kenya and see the projects which the foundation support.

    That afternoon I went to meet Sheilla and the girls who I would be working with. Everyone I met over there was fantastic, very friendly and supportive with a good dash of humour mixed in. There are 5 girls currently being employed by Johari to make the jewellery which will be sold in the shops in Kenya and over here in July. Johari, the brand which sells clothes made by some of the girls after they leave the seed of hope schools, have 2 shops in Nairobi. I went to the newest shop which is in a large shopping mall where the girls were making beaded jewellery in a room at the back. They had been looking for a more permanent workshop space but unfortunately had not secured anywhere by the time of my trip (they have since found somewhere). I had taken across a suitcase full of tools and materials to get the girls started, and the samples of work kindly given by the students at ECA. The girls loved looking at these and they gave them lots of inspiration to work on the new designs by Jenny Sweetnam. As it was the back of a shop we were only able to do some of the things there, obviously it wouldn't be great to do too much hammering or any soldering in these surroundings. I had a rough plan of what I wanted to cover with them, with the flexibility to adapt depending on what was possible. We worked for the next couple of days at the shop and I showed them how to make simple things like jump rings and catches which they had been buying in until then. I also had a look at the beaded work they had been making and gave them a few lessons in how to finish things to a higher standard and how to develop these ideas into new pieces if they wanted.

    To be able to do things like soldering and hammering we went to another of the Seed of Hope Schools which was in Nairobi. We took over half of a classroom which had sewing machines and weaving looms in it. It was hard to know which tools we would need each day and where we would be working, we had to take the tools and materials we would need to the school from the shop and some days I had to use what we had if I had forgotten anything from the shop. It will be so much easier for them now they have a workshop where they can do everything, and have all the tools and materials close to hand. We also had problems in sourcing materials like sheet metal in Nairobi, there are no online shops like Cooksons to make things easy. The shops we did go to were hidden away up flights of stairs and round corners so you could only find them if you knew where they were. Sheilla had heard of a shop selling sheet metal but when we tried to find it no one in the area knew where this shop was. We used a heated vinegar instead of acid for the pickle (this is a very old way of pickling one of my students told me about) It stinks really badly so we had to do this outside over some hot embers from the fire used to cook the lunch. Everything is aimed to be as simple as possible so the girls can continue after their training even if they have no electricity where they are working. All the tools I took across were basic essentials, hopefully these will last some time and allow Sheilla to pass on the new skills I have shown her to more girls in the future.

    We worked mainly with wood and wire to develop the skills needed to transform these materials into pieces of jewellery which can be finished to a high standard. I am going to be involved with quality control when the samples come over in May so I can make sure the work is up to a high enough standard to be sold over here. As there was so much to teach them and so little time we were not able to produce finished pieces while I was there so I am looking forward to seeing the samples when they make it over. We also looked at starting sketch books to record thoughts and development of source materials into designs, so hopefully the girls will be able to come up with designs of their own in the future. Sheilla is great, and by the time I left she already had new ideas of how to develop the wooden neckpiece idea into bracelets and earrings to go with these.

    While I was there I had the chance to go away over the Easter weekend and get out on Safari. I decided to go down to the Massi Mara for 2 nights and stayed at a lovely camp on the top of one of the hills overlooking the plains. I had a room with an amazing view, veranda and en-suite (I'm never one to be away from home comforts for too long). We went out on 3 Safari Drives over the time I was there, it was quite a bumpy drive down the hill as the road was more like a dirt track and I had seemed to bring the scottish weather with me! The dirt track was very muddy and it seemed like the kind of off-roading people over here would pay good money for. On one of the drives we went all the way down to the Tanzanian border. I saw so many amazing animals and it was so good to see them in their natural habitat rather than the cages we usually see them in over here in zoos. The lions feeding, giraffes and elephants were my favourite parts and when the zebras came to see me off on the last day I don't think I could have asked for a better send off. Due to all the troubles the place was fairly empty, not many tourists had been back which is hard on the local economy, especially over such a normally busy period.

    I also visited Kibera, the huge slum in Nairobi which was worst affected by all the post-election violence. It was a real eye-opener to see the devastation which had been caused by the violence, and the conditions which these people live in. The houses are small mud huts with corrugated tin roofs, all crammed together in an area the size of Marchmont. There are little winding alleys between the houses, and when it rains it is like walking through rivers of mud. There are estimated to be between 3/4 - 1 million people living in this area alone. We visited one family who live in a hut not much bigger that my front room, there are 7 children and the mother who live there. The room was divided by a large blanket hung on a washing line to separate the sitting area from the bedroom. 2 of the children suffer from Sicclecell and the mother has Aids, the father had passed away 4 yeas ago. It is at times like this when I feel very humble and realise just how lucky I am to have the life I do in Edinburgh. It also reinforces my drive to try and help people lift themselves out from these conditions by teaching them skills which they can use to make a living. I admire what the Sumerian Foundation have set up and are continuing to develop to help people like these.

    I don't think I had nearly enough time to pass on all I wanted to and am sure I will try and go back in the future to help more and develop the skills I had started to teach them. It was occasionally difficult to work around all the different things that were going on but I had been warned that things can get a bit hectic over there. The girls are so enthusiastic to learn new things and pick up new techniques quickly, they also help each other so if one person is not understanding then they will explain it in a way she will understand (it might have been something to do with my accent!) I think this is the start of something very special, and with more training and development I think this project could go far, helping even more underprivileged girls to learn new skills and start to be able to support themselves.

    If you have any questions about my travels or want to know more about the project please get in touch, I would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

    All the best

    Jenny Deans

    Posted by Foundation on January 22, 2008 2:33 PM

    Returning to Nairobi

    Posted by Jennie Duck. Returning to Nairobi, you get a different feel for the conflict that is portrayed in the UK media. I arrived this morning to heavy downpours and quiet roads.

    I got a good welcome and people said they were pleased I had returned and not run away like many others were perceived to have done. Kenyans are aware of how their country is being portrayed and feel this view is unfair because most people have not been affected by the unrest.
    People are trying to carry on with their normal lives, this was especially apparent when I hit a big traffic jam near later in the day. At this point, some demonstrations were causing disruption as people left the centre, where much of the trouble was expected.

    People are relying heavily on police whose presence is very much in evidence. I think they are largely using tear gas and water cannon to quell protests, and although they have used live ammunition, which has added to the tension, people largely believe that without the police, the situation would be more precarious. This is significant because under President Moi, the police were aggressors, but are now seen as protectors.

    A few comments I heard today:
    ‘It’s calm but it’s not peaceful’ - a comment that rang true this afternoon as everyone going about their normal business took fright at an outbreak of violence in the city centre; kids were sent home from school early and people hastily headed home.

    ‘Why are they calling for people to spend 3 working days demonstrating? Why not at least at a weekend?’ – possibly because the opposition knows the people willing to protest are people with nothing to do, including many opportunist petty criminals who see rallies as a chance to loot.

    And a couple of adverts on the popular nationwide Capital radio station:
    An appeal to everyone – local and international media, the opposition parties; EU officials; US ambassadors; demonstrators; NGOs – to provide evidence the election was rigged. The advert claimed a re-count had taken place, showing Kibaki had won and that anyone who disputed this could take it to the courts. It also said there was no evidence the vote count was unfair.

    An advert read by a child speaking to the politicians, asking them to stop calling for mass action because this would cause more deaths, road closures, disruptions to schooling, hurt the economy and keep tourists away.

    There was also a funny cartoon in today’s paper showing a waving Ghanian president John Kufuor wishing Kofi Annan “good luck” as Nairobi city centre burned in the background.

    Posted by Foundation on December 21, 2007 1:24 PM

    Johari Jewellery design competition by the Edinburgh College of Art

    At the start of December the students at the jewellery department of the Edinburgh College of Art submitted some incredible designs and ideas to be used for the next Johari Jewellery collection.

    We were totally overwhelmed by the hugely inspiring ideas on how to use authentic African materials in some stunning designs with a real Johari flavour.

    As a next step Jenny Deans, jewellery lecturer at the Edinburgh College of Art, will visit Kenya a few weeks in March to work with Sheila, who runs the Johari Jewellery Programme in Nairobi, and the Seed of Hope graduates on finetuning the designs.

    With the initial successes of designs and prototypes through combining ideas and creativity from Scottish and Kenyan designers we feel very excited about the new Johari Jewellery collection to be launched early smmer 2008!

    First prize winner Johari Jewellery Design Competition
    Jenny Sweetnam  

    The winning design by Jenny Sweetnam

    Second prize winners Johari Jewellery Design Competition
    Gwen Hosker         
    Joanna Hill
    Stacey Bentley   
    Antonia Chiappe            
    Jen Urquhart   
    Beanie Major                
    Maike Browning            
    Ai Yano   

    Posted by Foundation on November 26, 2007 4:26 PM

    Board members visit Kenya

    Advisory Board members Willie Watt and Calum Paterson visit Kenya

    A few months ago an Advisory Board was set up for the Foundation existing of a few high profile and very experienced Scottish business people. For more information on each of the board members and their respective companies please visit the partner page on our website.

    In November Willie Watt and Calum Paterson visited the Sumerian Foundation programmes in and around Nairobi. With their extensive business expertise they came back not only with huge admiration for the work of the Foundation going on in Kenya but also with some fantastic advice on how to simplify and enhance our social enterprise model.

    Following the philosophy of the Foundation each of the board members and the enthusiastic volunteers in each of their companies are getting very hands on involved in the Foundation programmes. There is an incredible buzz and synergy that is achieved through working in partnership with people based in Kenya and over here, all coming from a wide range of backgrounds and experiences. That positive energy keeps overwhelming me and I believe is what is truly going to make a long lasting difference.

    This particular example of business people providing support to creating economic opportunities to me is a great example of what we can do to provide just that bit of help that is often needed. As most people that have been involved with people in Kenya would say all the talent and drive and enthusiasm is already there in masses. How rewarding to work in partnership in providing a bit of expertise on business models and access to investment to make just that bit of a difference that can give many young bright driven disadvantaged people the opportunity they need.

    Posted by Foundation on November 25, 2007 3:59 PM

    Jenny Duck, the volunteers and the Butterfly and the Pig

    There is a growing group of hyper enthusiasts that are involved with the Foundation programmes and have been out to Kenya on a volunteer trip. Every one of these volunteers has had the joy of being welcomed and received by Programme Director Jenny Duck. One thing every single person will say when you ask them what the 3 best things to their trip was is ‘Jenny’.

    This woman is an absolute star who not only drives the success for the programmes she is responsible for but who also makes sure that everyone that comes out has a unique and life enriching experience. It is hard to describe the difference that she makes but I reckon it has something to do with her enormous warmth, the brilliant relationships she has with all the children and everyone involved in the programmes in Kenya and her fluency in Swahili giving volunteers the opportunity to get a lot closer to everyone. Then again her choice in Ethiopian food does spoil it a bit, but a few bottles of wine and some good chats at night make you forgive her for that :0)

    It has become tradition that each time when she is over in Scotland we all meet up and it probably says everything that even if the drinks are on a Monday night everyone will make the effort to come out to enjoy some drinks and the mad menu in the Butterfly and the Pig.


    Posted by Foundation on November 23, 2007 10:45 AM

    Scrapbook Exchange

    As part of our recent trip to Kenya, we ran a Scrapbook Exchange between Sumerian employees and children we met over in Kenya. The scrapbooks are a fun way for children in both countries to gain a personal insight into what life is like in each other’s countries.

    The idea was the brainchild of Sumerian employee, Tracy Connolly, and went down fantastically with all the children we met. In all, we ran three sessions with children from all different age groups – from Kandara Children’s Home, Seed of Hope and Ayany Primary School.

    The content for the scrapbooks was left entirely up to the children’s imaginations and included photos of the children, friends and family, favourite things, school timetables and hobbies - the children in Kenya were especially taken with pictures of snow, Hampden football ground and the great Scottish kilt! The idea was so successful that we’re looking to run another exchange on our next visit.


    Posted by Foundation on November 12, 2007 2:54 PM

    Trip to Kenya!

    Take a journey into this inspiring diary of Fran and Tracy's trip to Kenya!


    If you can spare a few minutes follow this link to the diary of Fran and Tracy, two Sumerian employees involved with the Foundation work went out to Kenya for a week. Talking to them when they came back, like everyone I have spoken to who have been out they were so full of their experience and felt such a buzz about it all!

    It seems impossible to describe how just a week of being out there has such a profound impact on people. I reckon it’s a combination of meeting the incredibly warm, hospitable, positive and creative people in Kenya, the real diamonds of people over there working on the programs and just to get a feel of something that is unbelievably rewarding.


    Diary Download file

    Posted by Foundation on July 31, 2007 2:09 PM

    Martin's adventures

    Here are some more adventures magically written by Martin who lives in the Kandara Orphanage

    Season 2 after first term

    Time went like wind and the spirits of adventures were haunting me in the adventurous environment of our school (Njiiri School). The field was large and the weather cruel the fog could not allow you to see anyone at least ten metres. Ed and I remained together as we plotted on how to make ourselves busy. We had to make a new way because we had to go to the school’s annual scouts’ camping. “where do you reckon we’ll be going to camp tonight?” ed asked. I realized that there was no other place we would go except the usual dangerous looking Aberdare ranges. “well I think it is the ranges.” I replied. “ Oh man this is going to break my bones” said ed in a tiresome tone, I understood him b’coz the day we went for the mountain climbing, he was walking on sticks.

    The school siren went and the students started to flood out to the parade ground, every one was eager to know our next adventure. The principal stood on the dais. He triggered the boredom as he drowned everyone with his long speeches. The only part that interested the most is the line when he said that; “and the camping which will be done by those who have paid for the accommodation, well we will camp at the Aberdare forests so you have to harden to cope with the environment. The school bus will be picking you up at 4.00am.” I could hear some grumble at my back, no one liked the waking than the sleeping. “now go and prepare yourselves for tomorrow. Lets go!” he finished and the meeting was dispersed. Ed and I went to our dormitories….

    To be continued……