This Advent season, you can find that perfect gift to nestle underneath the Christmas tree – or share with friends and family – while supporting refugee artisans and Jesuit Refugee Service!
JRS/USA is proud to feature key partners and their products from around the world. Whether it be a beautiful handmade bag and patchwork quilt, or Syrian soaps made from ancient recipes, you can choose a gift that empowers the lives of refugees this season.
Mikono “Hands” in Swahili was established in 1993 as part of the livelihoods program of JRS with the support of Fr. James Martin, SJ to provide a vehicle for the sale of craft foods made by refugees in the Nairobi area.
Today, the Shop works with 75 suppliers living in or around Nairobi, from over 10 different nationalities. Each of them offers unique skills learned either in their home countries or through livelihood training provided by JRS.
Many items feature vibrant splashes of color made of Mikono’s signature “patchwork” fabrics. Since orders and shipment may be delayed due to COVID-19, consider purchasing a gift card instead!
Wycliff’s Story: A Craft Passed through Generations
Many of Mikono’s artisans are refugees from neighboring East African nations, including Rwanda. Wycliff, a supplier of Christmas cards, arrived in Kenya in 2000 after the genocide in his home country.
Shortly after, he began learning his trade from his mother: “It’s in the blood,” he says.
Balthazar & Rose is a social enterprise that strives to bring beautiful, simple, useful gifts from the East to the West.
Its mission is “to make a positive impact by bridging cultural divides with products that are socially responsible and embody powerful significance: working directly with artisans, protecting the cultural heritage of ancient products and providing economic opportunity for people on the margins of society.”
On wholesale (5%) and retail sales (10%) of Aleppo soap, Balthazar & Rose contributes directly to Syrian refugees supported by JRS.
Shedding light on the true, unaltered stories of displaced persons is key to building empathy, creating awareness, and ultimately empowering the lives of refugees around the world.
Written by JRS Director of Reconciliation & Social Cohesion, Danielle Vella’s latest work, Dying to Live, shares the personal stories of refugees from Morocco, Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Eritrea, South Sudan and Mali now living in Italy, France, Serbia, Spain, Ethiopia, Uganda, Lebanon and the United States.
They face many obstacles on their journey, including an often unwelcoming new home were they hope to seek safety. Though many of the refugees’ journeys are harrowing through sea, mountains, or deserts, the book reveals the extraordinary courage, compassion, and hope of the refugees and those who help them along the way.