Orders are down, but we're not out
When this year began, like any year before it, millions of us resolved to finally fulfil some of our hopes and dreams. A start-up somewhere in the world was finally going to open its doors to the public after years of trying to and failing. A young man elsewhere was going to turn his life around and start earning an honest living for his family and a young woman, was going to start living a healthier life by running a few miles after work every evening.
Instead, after the first half of 2020, those of us who are still here are thankful just to be here. The novel Coronavirus has claimed hundreds of thousands of lives globally, shut down economies and caused thousands of businesses to close. Millions of people are facing an uncertain future.
At Bawa Hope, we also had plans and goals that we had hoped to meet this year. Having worked with and benefited thousands of artisans with families over the years, we wanted to shift up a gear and impact even more lives. We launched our online shop- bawahope.com in the first quarter of this year, through which we hoped to be able to cater directly to retail clients, as well as better serve our wholesale buyers. We were excited as we projected a 20% increase in sales, which would translate to more work and income for the artisans.
Our reality however has been sobering. Orders are down by a whopping 60%, meaning the artisans and their families have to make do with only 40% of their usual incomes.
The Kenyan government had imposed a countrywide cessation of movement between April and July, which meant people could not travel between counties and could only work between 4 am to 7 pm due to a countrywide curfew. But the economic situation has gotten so dire that the government has been forced to ease the restrictions and allow longer work hours in order to stimulate the economy. The school year however has been officially cancelled and children will remain home for the rest of the year.
In Kenya, most school children who live in rural areas and informal settlements- where most Bawa Hope artisans live, usually benefit from school feeding programs which are subsidized by the government and Non-Governmental Organization. They are usually assured of at least one meal a day when they attend school. Now that schools are closed, the artisans have to figure out how to provide an extra meal for the children, with only 40% of their usual incomes. The same 40% also has to cover rent and medication (some Bawa artisans are living with HIV).
We at Bawa Hope have been doing everything we can to support the artisans. We have developed a $32 care package which comprises of basic foodstuffs that can feed a family of 4-6 people for at least 2 weeks. Whatever extra we're able to raise goes towards helping the artisans with rent and ARV drugs (for those going through HIV therapy). Most of the help we have been able to offer has come through selfless donations and contributions of our customers, partners and well-wishers. We cannot thank you enough for what you have done thus far.
We are however making another appeal to you, even though we realize that the whole world is reeling from the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic. If you are in a position to purchase, please do so at bawahope.com. If you are not in a position to purchase but can spare a few dollars, please click here to make a donation towards a care package. Most importantly, please keep the artisans in prayer even as they pray for you.
Bawa Hope and the artisans thank you for your continued support and we shall continue to update you on the situation.