Handmade art empowering females in the USA & Togo,West Africa
|Posted on July 6, 2021 at 1:25 AM||comments (44)|
Greetings my fashion friends!
What a great day to come back and share what’s been going on. As you know since March our lives have changed. People are working virtually and all different kinds of meetings are happening online. Events, concerts and gatherings haven’t been taking place in the communities where we live. Birthdays are becoming drive-through celebrations and other events have also been similar. Streets have been empty, malls have been quiet and people are looking sad. Everything is being canceled but one thing that remains is HOPE. Do you agree?
Hope will not be cancelled, kindness will not be cancelled and giving will not be cancelled. People keep saying how can I help someone if I’m myself hurting or going through hardship? You’ll be surprised to find out that you can still help at a time like this.
Do you know that there’s more than material things that can be given to a person? When you reach out to see how one of your friends have been, when you give advice to a co-worker, when you send well wishes to somebody you haven’t seen in years, all of these things are good acts. You just gave these people hope, confidence and a reason to exist.
In a society where money is so important, this pandemic has shown us that there are other things that are more valuable. Like spending time with your significant other, your children, a relative or even a stranger. We are all aware that many people are hurting, yes people have lost jobs, lost loved ones, lost a marriage and so much more. Teenagers are hurting from not being able to socialize with their peers, there aren’t any parties or big gatherings going on, where can they go to share ideas and stories with each other? Children who were going to school to eat and feel secure now are in households with abusive people who they can’t even report because they live with these people 24/7. Educators who used to teach face-to-face have now become familiar with Zoom and break-out rooms where the most important goal is to keep kids engaged and on screen for long periods of time. Churches are now at 20% capacity and if you choose to attend you better be able to wear a mask for an hour or more of the time you’re there.
They call this the “new normal” but in reality will this ever be normal again? We have the right to be worried, stressed out, unhappy or pessimistic at times. For some of us, this could even cause depression because this has taken a toll on our mental health. Nobody has been trained to live these times. I can tell you something though. Believe that currently, we have each other. Kindness is still alive, smiles are still being shared, unity still exists, and I guarantee you this too shall pass! So please be safe out there and don't forget to share your thoughts because at least we have each other. We're alive and we're here that means we definitely have a purpose. The Most High has a job for us. Therefore, our job on Earth isn't done yet.
Shoutout to all of you who are reading this post, you are survivors, you are strong and you have a bright future!
Are you going anywhere special this summer, are you going by car, train or by plane? Keep the comments coming...
|Posted on December 9, 2018 at 11:10 PM||comments (223)|
Do you have any end of the year resolutions?
Is it losing weight, is it forgiving the ones who have hurt you this year or is it something you've never done before?
Well, if I can share mine, it will have to be: finding more ways to give back.
Did you know that right now there's a possibility to support a cause by buying a tee-shirt on Booster/Custom Ink?
Are you feeling blessed this season? Take your time to bless someone else.
Keep in mind that we're going on our 7th year of celebrating Afri(K)que's International Women's Day.
Will you be joining us? Do you have a talent that you want to share with the world but been putting it on hold for the day you feel confident? Leave that fear in 2018 and take part of our celebration.
There are multi-cultural performances, guest speaking and vending opportunities. We share food and inspiring conversations with each other and have a fashion show in colorful African designs supporting families experiencing hunger, poverty and homelessness.
Does this sound like something you want to take part of? Then join us on Saturday, March 9th in Springfield, MA from 1 to 5pm.
|Posted on April 20, 2017 at 8:16 PM||comments (294)|
Have you ever jumped up during the day or woke up in the middle of the night asking yourself what you've been put here to do? Have you ever heard that voice inside of you say:" Do what you want to do, not what people tell you to do!".
If any of the above listed things happened to you in your lifetime, you're closer to your calling then you've ever imagined! That also means that, me and you have something in common! We're here for a reason.
I've found my calling through helping others, doing charity work on a daily basis and donating to causes that are dear to my heart.
People say:" Donate locally, big companies are already rich". This I discovered is true, people rather give to huge companies than support the neighbor next door, people they know or family and friends who are going through hard times. Isn't this odd? Very much! You rather give to a company who's been in existence since your grandparents were born then a newly founded organization that just started in your town? This newly established company is bringing people together, helping the poor, the homeless and the hungry but you still won't donate?
Let that sink in for a minute.
This is where we differ! I'm glad to give my time and donations to companies that I have a business relationship with. I'll explain. If a company is not accessible for you to meet the key people who are making decisions, what's the reason why you're giving them funds or supporting their cause again? If they don't have time for you, why do you send them money or give them your time? This is where giving wisely comes in.
I'm so excited to be part of the Afri(K)que team where we're planning our first charity group trip to Africa in July 2017. I believe that other than helping females in the US it's also very important to learn how poverty affects people face-to-face in other parts of the world.
Please share with us if you've found your calling or simply anything positive that you would like other people to know!
|Posted on July 9, 2016 at 4:29 PM||comments (276)|
In the past years we have noticed that the women artists we've been working with and their families are suffering from fatigue, pain in the joints and anemia. A survey has showed that some of them are affected by a silent but painful disease called Sickle Cell Anemia. Other than hunger, homelessness and poverty now we would like to shine the light on diseases that people who are economically or/and socially disadvantaged are affected by. Our nonprofit organization is lucky to have been chosen for a Booster campaign to sell T-shirts so the whole world can help us raise awareness about Sickle Cell Disease and Sickle Cell Trait. Please join us by making this a success by buying shirts for you or somebody else! There are YXS to 4XL unisex shirts, black and white and finally long sleeve options for you to pick from. You can follow this link
Your donation goes a long way supporting families who are affected by Sickle Cell Anemia! We thank you for being a blessing!
|Posted on August 20, 2015 at 12:06 AM||comments (191)|
"If you find it in your heart to be a blessing to others, believe me this will come back to you multiple times. Some people call it karma, others call it luck. I personally call it: blessings." August 6, 2015 from the desk of our Founder.
Wow! How powerful is that, in other words, in your busy lives, please find time for your family, friends and especially find ways to give back to others. We have so much that sometimes we take things for granted and forget that once in a while a small donation to a cause that's worthwhile is good enough!
From this point on we have decided to call all the people who help us through our charity work our "blessings". At Afri(K)que we know the importance of giving a hand to the poor and reaching out to the socially and economically disadvantaged. Please remember to be an Afri(K)que blessing today! $1 goes a long way to feed women who are affected by poverty and give them hope for a better tomorrow!
We're using the arts as a means to fight hunger and poverty and empowering females in the process. Please join us by spreading the word about what we do because we strongly believe that raising awareness is key to ending hunger! Thanks for reading our blog this month!
|Posted on March 14, 2015 at 8:23 PM||comments (216)|
This month we're celebrating women.
March 8th was International Women's Day and if I didn't have a chance to tell you personally, Happy International Women's Day to all our mothers, daughters,sisters, wives, significant others, friends and family members!
What a great time to share some great news! We're pleased to announce a partnership with Carmen Callendar who is a local Springfield artist, teacher and talented woman who is working with us to make hand designed sneakers. She uses the same handmade cloth that our women from Togo use for clothing to design some unique sneakers that are empowering these females through poverty, hunger and homelessness. We're grateful to have the support of people in the communities where we work! Afri(K)que is blessed!
From this point on, our handmade sneakers will be available for purchase at events that we attend and also by orders. Thanks for supporting us through all you do!
|Posted on November 28, 2014 at 1:32 PM||comments (437)|
While I'm sitting here at my house on a Black Friday enjoying time with my family,guess what came to my mind? I'm getting inspired to write another blog. That's good right? Just in time for the season of giving. I'm sharing with you where I got my inspiration from. M. Elaine Fowser: " I want to be God's helper As I travel on life's way. I want to leave a heart print That will touch someone today."
This is very interesting because we all have a purpose in life. Some people find theirs early in life and others find it later on. My question to you today is have you found your purpose? Everyday we wake up, we go to our jobs, we have routines, we do certain things repeatedly but the bottom line is: have you found your purpose on Earth? I'm glad to say with a smile every day that I've found my purpose. I'm here to help others. Specifically, I'm here to help other people who can't help themselves. I'm sure by now you've heard of women who have talents but because of poverty still can't afford a decent meal.What about females who are artists but at the same time socially and economically disadvantaged? That's why my work is so crucial. Meeting women with these kind of backgrounds in my travels has made me a strong person. More compassionate and more aware. We have to count our blessings every day.At Afri(K)que we're raising awareness against poverty and homelessness in females. We're giving back in Togo, West Africa and in the United States starting with the Greater Springfield area. If you've never heard of artwork empowering women then you haven't seen what we do in our communities yet! All our artworks are made by hand and every dollar is being invested into changing more lives. If you're here reading this blog today, guess what? You're changing lives as well because the #1 way to support us is to pass the word on about what we're doing. Please keep the chain of happiness going. In conclusion, I'll like to end my November blog with this saying: "What is a smile, I ask myself- Is it just an expression or something else? A smile can make someone's day, A smile can help ease troubles away. When you have one smile, another will usually follow: It is an effect, that chases all problems and all sorrows: So why not smile and show your happiness, For when you smile, you truly are at your best." Thomas Casalenuovo, Jr.
As usual, thanks for reading the Afri(K)que blog and enjoy the holiday seasons with family and friends! We can use fashion (handmade clothing, scarves, jewelry,etc) to fight poverty. Don't forget to support your local business when you can!
|Posted on May 22, 2014 at 8:25 PM||comments (90)|
It's always great to come back and share more things with you. The latest and greatest fashion idea happened recently in March where we decided to throw a party/celebration for our supporters benefiting the women and girls we work with! These are females from impoverished backgrounds who are struggling to make ends meet. Interestingly enough these women have so many talents and through their works of art are slowly coming out of poverty and are able to afford a decent meal.
The International Women's Day Celebration was a success. We had numerous sponsors.Guest speakers included Springfield Rescue Mission, Barefoot Books, Avon, Origami Owl and two young talented girls who spoke to the public on the empowerment of girls. We entertained our guests with African dancers,Maggie The Clown, a Domm Dee Photography and the highlight of the day: a Fashion Show in colorful designs.
All I can say is,If you've missed the first one then make an effort not to miss the next one. From the mouth of our guests: "It was a fun event", "Wow! I've never seen a dance with spears" "The food was good"," I would definitely do this again!", "When is the next one?" So in response to an overwhelming response we would like to start surveying people to see how many people would be willing to attend our next event in Springfield,MA. Will you be our guest, next sponsor or guest speaker? Do you have talent to share or a product that stands out? Are you a celebrity trying to do some charity work and would love to join forces with us for our next event? Feel free to drop us some feedback on this blog or go to our Contact Us page and leave us some valuable information so we can get back in touch with you. Until then, enjoy the weather, stay in fashion and come back to our blog periodically! We love having you here. Thanks for joining the Afri(K)que blog.
|Posted on March 27, 2014 at 7:58 PM||comments (318)|
It's always a pleasure to hear from people who share my passion of style and this happens to be the best place to express our ideas and opinions. In case you've missed our previous blogs: Handmade for a cause, Color your Season! and Fashion with colorful designs have inspired other bloggers and brought this website to their attention. Yes, I'm proud to say that we specialize in handmade, eco-friendly and fair-trade items.
Check out this two-piece outfit with a combination of light blue and pink colors worn by one of our beautiful Afri(K)que volunteers. Let me ask you a question, are you red carpet ready? African prints are the hot topic this year and are right in time for Spring and Summer seasons. So be ready for your time to shine! Do you want to stand out at your next event, party or show? The best idea is to keep on coming back for more fashion tips. Maybe we can even help you pick your outfit for a future get-together or find you some handmade unique jewelry to match your clothes? Either way, stay in touch and as usual, we appreciate your feedback!
|Posted on January 31, 2014 at 11:48 PM||comments (6227)|
I'm excited to start 2014 by talking about charity and giving back when we are able to.
These are two topics that are very important in our daily lives. While some people talk about "giving back" in our communities some others talk about good karma. How can you go wrong when you're a person who likes to give? In other words there's nothing wrong with supporting people who are socially and economically disadvantaged. What do you think about that? Helping people who don't have the means or people who can't afford a decent meal, isn't that a good thing?
In my line of work, we go way back to the roots. We're helping females in Togo, West Africa by empowering them through artwork. In other words, we are showcasing different talents like handmade clothing, scarves, paintings, carvings, jewelry, etc. In return these women can take care of their families. Did you know that empowerment starts with self-sufficiency? In reality, if you help a woman, she helps her family, if she helps her family then this helps the community. On August 2nd, 2013, on the Late Show with David Letterman, Oprah said: "Investing in a girl is investing in a community". I'm so pleased that Oprah is agreeing with our philosophy. This makes our works at Afri(K)que so worthwhile. We're changing the face of Earth one female at a time and you are too by contributing to this blog! Congratulations on joining our blog in 2014 and we hope to hear from all of you soon! Feel free to drop us a line to let us know how we're doing.
Stay warm and always in fashion!