Members of the Valley GoGo Sisters show off some of the jewelry at the 2011 sale. This year's takes place on May 19.

Members of the Valley GoGo Sisters show off some of the jewelry at the 2011 sale. This year's takes place on May 19.

Caring through Kazuri jewelry

In what has become a yearly tradition, the Valley GoGo Sisters will hold their third Kazuri Jewelry event.

In what has become a yearly tradition, the Valley GoGo Sisters will hold their third Kazuri Jewelry event on Saturday (May 19) at the Pynelogs Cultural Centre.

Kazuri jewelry is handmade, hand-painted ceramic bracelets, necklaces, earrings and chokers made in the Kazuri workshop in Nairobi, Kenya. The story behind the jewelry began in 1975 when Lady Susan Wood started a small project aimed at finding a few African women solid employment. As word of the handcrafted jewelry began to spread, the facility was able to expand. Today, the workshop employs roughly 400 women in a part of the world that regularly sees unemployment rates of 65 per cent and higher. The jewelry is then imported to Canada at fair trade costs, where one of over 250 grandmother groups across Canada has the responsibility of sending out the jewelry to be sold by other groups. Most of the money raised from these sales supports the fair trade costs, and whatever is left over is donated to the Stephen Lewis Foundation “Grandmothers to Grandmothers” campaign.

“We see the need to support these African grandmothers,” said Luana Gilles of the Valley GoGo Sisters. “They know what they need to care for these children and all they need is the financial support to make it happen.”

The Stephen Lewis Grandmothers Campaign has raised $13.5 million for African grandmothers over the last six years. African grandmothers play a vital role in many communities, caring for millions of children orphaned by AIDS, and Gilles said that she can’t even imagine having to care for sometimes as many as 10 children on her own.

“They show such resilience and commitment, that it’s an easy task to try and raise money for them,” she said.

The community has been extremely supportive of the sale over the last couple years, said Gilles.

“We’re always extremely appreciative of the community support we get from the Columbia Valley,” she said. “It’s all part of just being a global citizen, and this is a very concrete way that we can provide that support.”

An exclusive luncheon will be held at the Pynelogs Cafe before the sale, giving those that attend an opportunity to preview and purchase jewelry before it goes on sale to the general public during the event. Tickets are $20 for the luncheon and are available at One-Hour Photo. The sale itself runs from 1 to 4 p.m. and admission is free.

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