When my friend Meredith asked me to design a piece of jewellery for the Ugandan jewellery company Musana, I said yes almost immediately. Musana is a jewellery company based in Lugazi, Uganda that employs local women to provide them with financial stability and education. All their supplies are locally sourced and the profits are all put back into the community.
Excited with the possibilities in accessory design, I high tailed it to the library to take out all the books on jewellery making that I could find. I was going to design something crazy, complicated, awesome...
And then, somewhere along the way, I thankfully realized this was less about me and my foray into jewellery design and more about Musana. I went back to their aesthetic and decided to intertwine two complementary colours to make a necklace that is cheerful, bold and super wearable (it's available here, bottom right of the page). It was Meredith's idea to add the tag with the word 'Tukula' on it. Tukula meaning 'we grow', something Musana hopes to continue doing within their community and also as an indirect nod to my landscaping roots.
Honestly, I designed the necklace because it was an honour to be asked and because I thought it could be a fun project. It feels nice to know that having a fashion blog can lead to the opportunity to help promote a very worthy company. But it all felt a little abstract and far removed until I had the chance to chat to the ladies working for Musana.
Suddenly, it wasn't about the necklace colours or the fuzzy feelings you get when you help out, it was about giving these ladies the opportunity for a better life. And chatting to them via the magic powers of the internets made that hit home. The ladies sang songs for me, explained their daily routines and asked me about my life in Canada. I explained that we were having a beautiful autumn and they had to google pictures of autumn colours because the concept of turning leaves was so foreign to them.
I remember one woman especially. She just had this sparkle in her eye... it sounds cheesy but it's the first thing you notice about her. Her name was Florence and her name stuck with me, in part because we used to live on a Florence Street a few years ago. When this necklace arrived from Uganda, it contained an introduction card to one of the workers of Musana and it was an interesting coincidence that this card was about Florence. Her story is a hard one. An abusive first marriage, a second marriage that left her widowed and now a third marriage to a man that won't support her children from her previous relationships. This is going to sound so trite, but when I think of Matt not supporting me, I think of him not feeling like taking outfit pictures because we are in a rush or he's tired. Yes, that is my example of Matt's lack of support. For Florence, her husband's lack of support means that children go without. It is, quite frankly, mind blowing.
Please think about supporting Musana this Christmas season. You can buy the necklace as a gift for a loved one or maybe as a gift for yourself. As the oft overused expression goes... Treat Yo Self (I will even forgive the use of said expression if you purchase said necklace because the greater good outweighs the annoyance factor.)
Big thanks to Musana for letting me partner with them in this! And of course, thank you to you, for reading and for caring...
*Thanks to my brother for taking pictures!