Amsha’s story begins with the story of someone else... a young boy with big dreams and a bleak future.
I went to Kenya in 2008 on a post-graduation, once in a lifetime trip (or so I thought) to explore East Africa, and I met an orphaned boy named John that first night over dinner. John was a 17-year-old, sixth grader and a well-respected young man in his village. He was the oldest child at his school, and towered over all of the other kids, as he didn’t get an opportunity to go to school until he was eleven. I started asking him questions on that first night, and his answers only led to more questions. We spent six weeks having these nightly dinner conversations, and over the course of the summer, I grew to understand. As I packed up my bags to leave Kenya, I viewed poverty in a very different light and saw the complexities involved. I witnessed the downfalls of too much foreign aid and ‘help’ in all the wrong forms. It was this exchange and friendship that altered my five-year plan (that I was certain I needed after graduation).
I returned home to work in the design field, but couldn’t shrug off that summer in East Africa. I believe everyone should have access to education and I knew through job creation and elevating people out of poverty, we could educate future generations. Shortly after my return home, I quit my job and packed my bags to return to Africa. I researched artisanal work in East Africa and then worked in micro-enterprise development in South Africa, before moving to Kenya at the end of 2012 to build Amsha.
We know this is only the beginning for Amsha and for our artisans. Much of our story is still waiting to be written.