Buyamba & Hope in Uganda

photo by Laura

I'm really excited to get to share about this new shoe brand, Buyamba, as it in so many ways has intertwined with my close friends and even my family.  First let me tell you a little bit about Buyamba, and then I'll share all the ways that I've found even deeper connections with them through my close friends and family!
The Buyamba footwear brand was created as a means to help women and children in Uganda where there is not only major economic despair but also the need for education among people of all ages.  From adult schooling to help create jobs and new career paths for women who have had to take on much of their family's economic burden because of rampant HIV/AIDS within the community, to the basic education needs of children, Buyamba seeks to help bring funding and direct education to the people of Uganda.

All of the beautiful beads that you see on the Buyamba shoes are made my women in Uganda who are paid fair wages and given opportunity for education through Buyamba's support.  To date, Buyamba has established over 200 new jobs for Ugandan women making the beads for the footwear products, and they have produced over 3 million beads!  Pretty amazing.  The paper used to make the beads is usually trash or discarded overstock so there is a unique environmental advantage to the materials used as the beads are rolled by hand and then, taken through a varnishing process that is lead free and water based, evironmentally friendly.  The women earn a fair wage that allows them, for the first time in their lives, to provide for their families as sole bread winners.  Go girls!

Through the sale of the shoe line so far, Buyamba has then been able to donate over $100,000 to support the educational and nutritional needs of Ugandan children!  They call this the Cycle of Hope and are dedicated to sustaining this for years to come.  The shoe line partnered with Buyamba Uganda, a non-profit charity organization that’s sole purpose is to help feed and educate the children of Uganda. Currently they have over 2000 students in their primary school and high school facilities and plans are underway for the building of a vocational school in Kampala Uganda!  Buyamba Uganda gives back over 90% of every dollar given to then directly to the children’s educational and nutritional needs.  And I think that is pretty incredible, don't you?  I know how much it costs to simply keep an organization running, and it's just phenomenal that they are able to invest 90% off all their donations directly into education and nutritional needs.

So, not only do I think Buyamba is incredible on it's own, but it has crazy connections to my own personal life!  One of my best friends from college, Brittany, has been working with ACI Footwear for awhile now and has been helping develop the Buyamba shoe brand with them.  One of my other college best friends Katie's step mom started Buyamba Uganda, whom the shoe brand Buyamba donates to with every shoe sale.  Brittany didn't even realize until after about a year of working with Buyamba Soles that it was connected to Katie's step-mom's organization, and Brittany, Katie and I were all roommates after college!  It's crazy how things connect.

I was lucky enough to meet the team over at Buyamba while I was in Las Vegas for some trade shows.  Brittany and I were thrilled that we were in Las Vegas at the same time for work, and she was excited to introduce me to their new shoe brand that is filled with heart.  I immediately loved their mission and the people on their team.  And as we were chatting over dinner the last night of the trade shows, we came to find even more parallels.  My dad's best friend, Scott Kellermann and his wife Carol, have been working in Uganda for the last 15 years through their foundation The Kellermann Foundation investing in the community, building a hospital, training locals in nursing, and so much more and Carol has even done work with the Buyamba school!  My dad is a priest, and his church has done a lot of sponsorship for the Kellermann Foundation as it has grown.  Talk about tons of parallel's with my life, right?  I think Buyamba has secretly be stalking me for my entire life... :)

The folks at Buyamba have been kind enough to offer 10% off of all of their debut shoe line until the end of April for my blog readers!  Just used the code:  moorea when checking out and you'll get 10% off.  Lots of love!

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