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Crafted by Susan Herda

Konjo: Redefining Beauty

  • # Africa
  • # DesignForGood
  • # Give
  • # Kenya
  • # Konjo
  • # Life In Abundance

Buy a pair of shoes, give a pair of shoes to someone in need. It’s a shortsighted and increasingly common model rooted in generosity. Shortsighted in the sense if the people that are getting the shoes are not involved in the process, then it’s one more example of a process that is not creating sustainable change or impact. But what if someone’s shoe purchase could do even more? What if mothers who once accepted “free” shoes now have the dignity and self-worth to be able buy their own childrens’ shoes. That’s the question those involved in Life In Abundance’s new initiative asked themselves. It was what led to the creation of Konjo.

Konjo is an economic development initiative aiming to change the lives of people living in Kibera, in Nairobi, Kenya—one of Africa’s largest slums. The initial product is a pair of unique, handcrafted sandals made of local resources. Unlike anything made in a factory, each sandal helps provide not only food, shelter, and clothing, but a sense of dignity and self-worth for the local people working towards a brighter future for them and their families. The men and women involved are living in poverty and may have previously been unemployed or unskilled, but now have both the skills and knowledge to be empowered to make a difference in their lives.

Rule29 is excited to be a part of the development and creation of Konjo and proud to announce the launch of Konjo.is. Please visit the site to learn more about the process and buy a pair of shoes or two. Limited quantities are available, so purchase today and be one of the first to own a pair Konjo sandals!

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Konjo is defined as “beauty” in Amharic, the language of Ethiopia where the idea was originally conceived with LIA while shooting a documentary on the street kids of Addis Ababa called This Is My Home. While you receive a beautiful pair of shoes, hope is restored for the beautiful people of this community since 100% of your purchase goes back into the program. The goal is to create products that are of fine enough quality to sell and provides economic opportunity to keep and expand the program.

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Konjo sandals—now available in a variety of colors (currently offering women’s sizes; men’s sizes coming soon).

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Thanks to Konjo, people like Jane (above) may actually get to see her grandchildren have a different life than what she and her children have lived. Click here to read Jane’s story and the stories of other Konjo participants.

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Combining comfort with sustainability, Konjo sandals are made with all locally sourced materials, including recycled tire tread for the sole and local leather for wear. The Konjo emblem is beaded entirely by hand.

Please make an investment into Konjo today. Whether you are buying shoes or helping to spread the word, it will truly make an impact!