Supporters of Love

Saturday, February 12, 2011

This Week's Challenge: Indulge in Imani...the Story, the Jewelry, the Purpose

Love beads...hand-made by the women of Uganda.

I am finding that this world of fashion and philanthropy is both fascinating and steeped with love, kindness, and tremendous strength.  In this sort of world, I want to relish every blade of grass, fertilize every blooming flower, and breathe in the air of fervency gazing overhead as the starlight dances off the placid waters of tomorrow and beyond.  I am, of course, aware of the darkness that preceeds these fanciful revelations as does Zion Project Director, Sarita Hartz  , whose own words from her blog sum it up best:

"In that place of vulnerability, of crying in front of others, and allowing myself to be seen and allowing myself to feel the pain of many moments and memories long since filed's a place I know well because I have seen it shadow the eyes of the women and girls we help. That sense of unworthiness. That shame. And I've searched long and hard for how to transform it into light."

Sarita Hartz and the women of Uganda.

 Readers, meet the Zion Project...."a movement of love" as their website states.  Hartz created her own foundation to help women and children in Uganda because she was frustrated by larger organizations, so she decided to start her own to ensure that donor's money would be invested where they intended: in the lives of those who need it most. Tired of reading headlines and feeling powerless to do something, she felt compelled to begin something that would be a movement of love and encourage people to take action.

Salome, seen here, creating a necklace.

In northern Uganda, there are many women and girls who are forced into the sex-industry due to lack of food and provision for themselves and their children. Many are Acholi teenagers displaced by war, but a number of them are refugees from Congo who came to escape rape and violence. 

They began training the women and creating jewelry from materials available in Uganda, but able to be transformed into the latest fashion of the Western world. They wanted something that women in the West would wear proudly, and also know that they were saving a woman from having to sell herself. 

Imani means "faith." They call it this because it was the faith of the women that inspired them.

In honor of the women, they have named each piece of jewelry a word in Swahili which corresponds to an attribute that each woman embodies.  Seen here is a piece called "Amini" which means "Trust.
I heart this piece!  It looks so lovely next to the gorgeous yellow hues of the sunflower.  This necklace is called "Bidii."  Bidii means "Devotion."

This blue creation is called "Kifalme" which in Swahili means "Royalty" and that you will feel when sporting this fab find.

Buy "Amini," "Bidii," and "Kifalme" from the official Imani Website!

When you purchase a piece of Imani jewelry, you are helping to save the lives of the actual hands who made them.

A big THANK YOU to Sarita Hartz for allowing The Compassion Fashion Project to write this story and quote her words from her blog, Allison Malacara for reaching out to us in the first place and for an offer she made to us I will tell you about later, and Jordan Pappas for sending photos, information, and granting us permission to use other photos from their site.
Ladies, I am humbled by your "bidii" to this project and in awe of your are making a difference in this world.  I hope you make moments for yourself  "to relish every blade of grass, fertilize every blooming flower, and breathe in the air of fervency gazing overhead as the starlight dances off the placid waters of tomorrow and beyond." 


Martha, of "Martha's Story," as you may have guessed by now is one of the Imani artisans and she is doing great.  Jordan Pappas reveals her current status, "...she is still employed with Imani and has recently become involved with our savings program. Now, Martha can set aside money each month that will be used for her children's school fees. Look for Martha's design, the lime Mchanga, on our site.


  1. Great post, Meredith. I've been to Uganda; people were so kind to me.

  2. Such a wonderful post. I hope the organization spreads to other countries where women are in need.

  3. They are wonderful people and the women creating the jewelry, I mean I honestly cannot imagine the amount of strength they must have. I don't know if I should be announcing this yet, but a little birdie told me that they are expanding the line to handbags and apparel. You have not heard the last of this story, I am staying on top of it:)

  4. I helped out with Invisible Children in Uganda and got one of these necklaces. I love them! Awesome site.

  5. Oh, that is so cool, Joanna:) The bead making process is so intricate, too. I keep meaning to get their creative process posted, but it has been a busy week...stay posted, though!

  6. I got one! Yay for helping in Uganda!
    I might post about you if that's ok

  7. Mana, please feel free to post about us for sure! We are starting at a grass roots level, so you would be helping us get the word out:)

  8. This is an amazing post, and a perfect collaboration of fashion and good will.
    On trend too!
    You have my support

  9. Oh, thank you darling! I'm so glad all my fashionista bloggers can see the hard work that goes into each piece...they are magnificent:) The artisans are very talented and I hope they know we appreciate their work.

  10. I love the story and the post! Beautiful! Lovely photos, lovely blog, you are an inspiration...

  11. I love the idea of your blog, plus the products are amazing :) good luck!

  12. I bought two of their necklaces! They are beautiful and make me happy. The colors are cheerful and the cause is fantstic. I'm glad I can use my love of fashion to help. Thanks for introducing me to Imani.