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Amani ya Juu (“peace from above” in Swahili) is a sewing and training program for marginalized women established in Nairobi, Kenya, with sister centers in Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, and Liberia. Women at Amani are learning to work together through faith in God who provides a peace that transcends all cultural and ethnic differences. Amani portrays a unique picture of diversity, with women coming from Rwanda, Burundi, Congo, Uganda, South Sudan, Kenya, Ethiopia, Somalia, Mozambique, and other African nations.
Amani began in 1996 with four women sewing placemats together in Nairobi. Since then, Amani has grown to over 100 women representing ethnic groups and experiences from all across Africa. As women return to their homelands, they carry Amani with them. Amani has established a presence of peace in five African nations (Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Liberia, and Uganda) and two US cities (Washington, DC and Chattanooga, TN). Each Amani center is locally registered and independently managed with support from an international leadership team.
Amani is committed to holistic development. Women gain experience in stitching, quality control, purchasing, bookkeeping, management and design. As new women enter the program they are mentored in quality workmanship with strong emphasis on ethical business practices and harmonious relationships with people of different backgrounds.
Relationships built upon God’s peace transform even the most troubled lives. Amani women participate in singing, praying, and Bible study as part of daily activities. Visits to one another’s homes also help them care for one another. As women live out peace, they also pass it to their neighbors in need. The women extend Amani’s culture of peace by sharing resources with other Amani centers—mentoring new leaders, conducting skills training, and contributing toward start-up costs.
The ultimate products of Amani are women of peace. In the face of conflict and poverty, these women have regained stability and are sharing this gift of peace in their homes, communities and nations.
Amani’s wide selection of high-quality handbags, home & kitchen décor, jewelry, and children’s items are made out of local African materials. Innovations by Amani trainees in stitching, tie-and-dye and batik result in uniquely designed products.
The sale of products by volunteers and in Amani shops makes Amani financially self-sustaining and enables each woman a chance to earn a consistent income. Product sales also sustain the growth and development of the Amani centers.
Amani also uses donations to support specific outreach programs, such as Amani Watoto, the Elizabeth Sumwabe Scholarship Fund, emergency support, and infrastructure and facilities development.