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Meeting Bibi Veronica

February 14, 2013

Bibi Vero Bibi necklaces

Bibi Veronica walked into Wamama Kahawa one sweltering afternoon where we had scheduled our meeting for. She was decked in a flora v-neck top and plain simple skirt. Accessorizing with a simple necklace looped twice around her neck and a beaded belt that hung from her waist, these little details gave her outfit the finishing touch, characterising a meticulous, detailed and fashionable person.

When we started talking, I started realizing that Bibi Veronica was wearing what she was selling, and that’s how good she is. As much as I get crafty on some days, I don’t have the confidence of knowing that my final outcome is passable as a marketable product. But Bibi Veronica does, and she perhaps, is her best salesman.

Her confidence in her craft probably comes from the fact that she is no stranger in this trade, having been in the bead making industry for more than 20 years. As she spoke to us about her life, i could not help but notice the weary yet determined look on her face.

Bibi Veronica first started on bead work when she was a primary school teacher in Kenya.  She later retired as a primary school teacher and spent her time in Saint Luke’s Rehabilitation Centre as an instructor for the physically disabled, focusing on adult literacy and bead-making. She then set up a now-defunct NGO, Hope Craft Skills Development Centre, teaching women & disabled people these skills for 7 years. At the same time, she expanded her skills and teachings to include Textile Technology and Batik Tie-Dye.

While in Tanzania, she continued her calling and provided training for PCA Church and Saint Columba’s Church. It was also at this period of  time when got involved in setting up the Nuru Centre, being one of the few trainers engaged, to mobilise and train the physically disabled women and men in various handiwork. Two years ago, she moved to Kenya after her daughter got married and has now returned with a renew interest to re-ignite her passion for the community and the trade that she is in. Her dream is to have a shop space where she could sell her products and open a training centre to empower women to ear a decent income from the sewing and beading skills that they will learn.

So how is Wamama Kahawa helping her out?

Wamama Kahawa is happy to help push her vision in whatever way we can. Not only are Bibi Veronica’s products displayed and sold at Wamama Kahawa, on 23rd February, Saturday, We will be holding two paper bead- making workshop together with Bibi Veronica and the Nuru Centre.

WORKSHOP 1 : 10:30 – 12:30
WORKSHOP 2 : 14:00 – 16:00

All proceeds from the workshop will go to Nuru Centre and there will be a handicraft sale on this day.

Participants will have a session of making their very own paper bead work, to not only learn this beautiful craft that is eco-friendly, organic and original, but to also have a feel of the hard work these women have to go through to make these handicrafts!

To sign up, visit Wamama Kahawa cafe or contact 0787 796 616 today!


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