"every pair gives care to children in Congo"
Kicheko meaning "smile" or "laughter" in Swahili - is a cause based lifestyle brand producing and sourcing social goods that benefit orphan care and continuing education in the eastern region of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Why hello there! A little nug about myself - my name is Sarah Bayot and I have been based out of beautiful Washington, DC for 10 years now. My alma mater is George Washington University, where I received both my B.A. and M.A. in International Development, danced on a crazy close hip-hop dance team called Capital Funk, and met the love of my life - now husband, James. There is a special place in my heart for social entrepreneurship, fashion, cross-collaborations, pandas, chow chows, and travel. I also blog about fashion and culture at Fashion and Philosophers. Visitors always welcome. Now, onto the story.
Born out of a love to create and a hope to see Congo healed and restored, I began making earrings with a group of women from the DC area who also enjoy crafting, fashion, and creativity. Beginning with a pop-up shop at a university vendor fair in 2012, the earrings took off and Kicheko was born. I chose "Kicheko" because through the goods and conversations that inevitably ensue, I wanted to highlight the joy that exists in Congo despite very difficult circumstances. This endeavor has been a wonderful way to engage many in the story of Congo and the struggles it still faces today.
I have traveled to eastern Congo from 2011-2013 to partner with a locally-led organization called Congo for Christ Center (CCC), which provides orphan care to 58 orphans and community outreach to hundreds of Congolese. While there, it has been uplifting to see joy in the people and children and an honor that they share it with us so generously. Even in the midst of poverty, sickness, and the looming threat of instability that plagues modern Congo - they hold fast to community and to hope. Smiles and laughter can be healing medicine for oneself and it can perpetuate joy to others. There is a sweetness in the laugh of a child and Kicheko is committed to protecting and preserving these precious years of childhood. Every pair of kicheko earrings goes towards supporting capacity building initiatives, orphan care, and continuing education in eastern Congo. Purchase a pair for yourself or as gifts for your friends, family or that random person who needs their day made. Don your Kicheko. Share the story. Choose love each day. Together, we can make a difference.