Adorn a Child (x3)

Pamba Toto co-founder Debbie Lee with grand-daughter, Everly

No doubt about it, Pamba Toto loves kids. In fact, the whole reason we exist is because kids mean the world to us. Our name, “Pamba Toto” encapsulates our mission in Swahili: “adorn a child.”

Our hearts break for kids who lack the basics of food and shelter, and most of all, love. We started ten years ago with the tagline: “As you adorn yourself or your home with these creations, you adorn an orphan with hope and love.” From the beginning, we’ve donated our profits to Hope’s Promise for Sanctuary of Hope (SoH), a home of former orphans, now adorned with the miracle of family.

In the early days, we weren’t so concerned with what we sold or where it came from, as long as we generated funds for SoH. But as our experiences in Kenya and relationships expanded, so also did our mission.

We stood face-to-face with people’s nightmares in the slums – mothers who make terrifying choices, like whether or not to feed their babies breast milk that could possibly transmit their own HIV+ diseases, or allow the children to starve. Mothers who feel so desolate and hopeless that they abandon their newborns on trash-heaps, thinking it is a better alternative than living. Parents who receive anti-retro-viral drugs through government programs but can’t afford the food they need to take with the drugs to stay alive.

And we couldn’t simply say “good luck” and turn away.

We crept up close to the precipice and witnessed the terrible cliff of orphan-hood: caregivers and children teetering on the edge; children free-falling with hollow eyes; and then, of course, we stood with Sanctuary of Hope, picking up the pieces on the jagged rocks below.

And we realized Pamba Toto can make a difference at the top of the cliff, before children take the tumble into orphan-hood, as well as after.

We’ve zeroed in on four main artisan groups in the slums of Nairobi. One of those groups, Tuungane Pamoja (Swahili for “let us join together”), based in the Kawangware slum, is comprised of four mothers with twelve children between them. (Read more about this amazing group in my next blog entry.) We want these kids to stay with their moms.

So, here we are, doing our best to adorn children in three ways:

  1. We buy from artisans who work hard to provide for their children and stay together as a family;
  2. We donate profits to Hope’s Promise for Sanctuary of Hope;
  3. We bring fun and beautiful products to market to adorn kids! (October’s theme is “kids’ products”- click to view in our store, but of course we sell many products in other categories as well.)

And here’s how you can help.

Will you accept the October “Pamba Toto (x3) challenge” and share Pamba Toto with three other people?

In keeping with our October emphasis on kids’ products, here’s a few ideas: think of grand-parents always on the look-out for gifts as unique as the little people they love; or mutual friends of new parents; or adoring aunts and uncles. Then, click the Facebook link below to share this post directly to your friends’ pages with a personal invitation to check out Pamba Toto, or visit our Facebook page and share the link with three friends.

Our goal for October is to multiply awareness of Pamba Toto’s mission, times three, and send a message to the world – kids matter!


PS Miss Everly certainly hopes you like the photos she modeled for, because it was very hard work!


2 thoughts on “Adorn a Child (x3)

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