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Monday, December 10, 2012

African Fashion by Amani Ya Juu

Amani Liberia is a sewing and business-training project for women in Liberia. The project serves a two-fold purpose. First, Amani gives women the opportunity to improve skills such as purchasing, bookkeeping, quality control, management and design. Second, Amani aims to sow seeds of peace in the hearts of the women as they grow in community and faith together.

The Pocket Dress (Photo: Kirwan)

Amani Liberia is part of a larger organization, Amani ya juu, Swahili for “Peace from Above”, (amaniafrica.org). The network of peace is alive in Liberia, Kenya, Burundi, Uganda, and Rwanda---as well as Washington, D.C. and Chattanooga, TN.

The Circle Skirt (Photo: Kirwan)

In 1989, pain and loss gripped Liberia as civil conflict broke out. Becky Chinchen, an American working to develop Liberia, was forced to flee with her family.

In 1996, Becky founded Amani ya Juu in Kenya. Amani offered a place where wounds could heal, life could be revived, and purpose could be restored. Peace was lived out in Kenya and soon passed to sister centers in other countries.

The Ruffle Top (Photo: Kirwan)

In 2011, God’s peace for families and communities came full circle with the opening of Amani Liberia in the rural community of Yekepa, Liberia. Amani Liberia is a place where peace transcends.

The A-line Top (Photo: Kirwan)

What Does Amani Liberia Look Like?

▪In a country where 85% of the population is unemployed, Amani offers jobs and skills training.

 ▪ To a country lacking in professional capacity, Amani provides leadership training to emerging leaders.

▪ To those who have never had a chance to dream, Amani gives hope to members, allowing them to pursue dreams for their family’s future.

▪ In a place where the moral fabric of society has been unraveled by civil conflict and over 75% of females have been raped, Amani members engage in daily devotionals, prayer, and peaceful reconciliation.

▪ Where churches are stuck in Sunday religious practices and traditions, Amani engages in holistic ministry to the body, mind, heart, and spirit.


The Ruffle Top (Photo: Kirwan)

This story was originally written by Emily Kirwan
Emily graduated from Baylor University in August 2012 with a double major in Nonprofit Marketing and International Business. She is currently volunteering with Amani ya Juu, an organization which uses business to help women in Africa lift themselves out of poverty by creating beautiful accessories and clothing to be sold in the US. You can read more about her personal experience on her blog Emily Kirwan's Adventuring.