Samantha Johnson is a small town Arkansas girl who decided to pack up and move to the coast of Kenya at 23, after graduating university with a degree in studio art. As a lover of God, cultures, travel, watercolor, and words, she seeks to listen and learn how God redeems people and places using the very own giftings He’s given them. After 5 years in a small village fumbling her way through Swahili, eating double portions of chapati, and yelling at sassy chickens, she’s now living in the big city of Mombasa working with an NGO in a developing part of the city. She’s still eating an unhealthy amount of chapati, soaking up the equatorial sun, and making language mistakes—all while drawing and painting about it.
In this episode,Jenny and Sam talk about art and how God uses her creative mind to continually influence and transform the community. They also throw in some of their funny and also frustrating experiences in the early start of their life in Kenyan villages. As you laugh, be encouraged to embrace the talent and abilities you have to grow your community.
Joanna Maiden, or Jo, as her friends call her is a British entrepreneur currently living in Kenya with her husband and 3 kids. 11 years ago she founded Soko Kenya, an ethical clothing factory and Community Trust. Her passion for ethical and sustainable fashion that had taken root before it was even in the mainstream talk, propelled her to establish her factory on the pillars of transparency on the production process, fair wages for employees and an overall favourable environment for both her artisans and the surrounding community.
In the progressing years, Joanna set up a SOKO Community Trust that gave the artisans and other members of the local community a chance to improve on their skills and acquire new ones.The Trust runs projects like computer literacy classes, money management classes for the artisans, education on HIV/AIDS and family planning and making and distribution of re-usable sanitary pads. In the distribution of these pads to local schools, social education on menstruation, relationships and sex is given to both boys and girls to try and eradicate some cultural vices such as early pregnancy and the shame that comes with menstruation.
In this episode, Jenny and Joanna talk about Joanna’s journey to such an incredible establishment that has ethical and sustainable fashion at the heart of its birth and growth. They further talk about the authentic projects such as making and distribution of sanitary pads and the social education offered by her foundation around the subjects of menstruation, relationships and sex for both boys and girls. Be encouraged this week that the small positive changes you are making are on the road map to creating great change!