“Colorful” isn’t a word I usually use to describe any aspect of my closet. Although of course, it doesn’t have to be this way, I’m lulled into the neutral aesthetic that’s so typical of the slow fashion movement. Despite my love of neutrals, I’ve surprised myself by buying a few “color pop” items that have stayed in my closet for years. (Case in point, my MATTER Prints wide leg pants).
My most recent color pop addition is a coral pair of “Afridrilles” from Ubuntu Life.
Even better than the color though, is the beautiful story behind these shoes.
They were made by a mother. A mother who, because of her work with Ubuntu Life and their color pop shoes, is able to send her child (maybe children) to school, buy better food for them, and create a better future for herself.
Ubuntu Life employs women in Kenya, giving 100% of the proceeds back to the programs that keep their more than 80 women happy, healthy, and whole. In an area where access to fair paying jobs is limited, this non-profit has committed to paying their employees above the local living wage, including health insurance. Jobs like these, that enable women to own their own homes in a country where less than 10% of the population has the opportunity to do so, have the potential to help break the cycle of poverty.
Founded by a pair of pastors from Kenya and Texas, Ubuntu Life began with the mission of helping children with disabilities and other life-threatening illnesses. These children’s mothers, freed from the weight of caring for their children alone, were now able to search for jobs and cultivate other skills and passions. The idea grew into a non-profit that cared for these families holistically - allowing them to meet physical needs, learn valuable job skills, and plan for their futures.
Nearly 20 years since then, Ubuntu Life now operates a cafe, Water Bottle Enterprise (a facility producing clean water to wholesale around the country), a production studio, and soon will operate a pediatric center on their 11 acres of property near Nairobi.
Colorful, is most certainly a word that applies not only to the product these women make, but to the brightness of their future with Ubuntu Life helping them lay the foundation.
The soles of the shoes are made from traditional jute and rubber for durability. The body of the shoe is made from Kenyan cotton canvas (sourced from a woman-owned cotton factory!) and feels sturdy but soft. They’re wonderfully supportive and comfortable, perfect for walking the beach, around the house, or to and from work.
They’re most notably a casual shoe, but I wanted to style them up a bit (heavy on the neutrals of course…wouldn’t want to go overboard with color, now would we?). I love how they look with whites and tans, but they' also look amazing paired with jeans and a tee, leggings, or even a summer dress.
In addition to their Afridrilles, the brand also sells gorgeous tote bags and bracelets.
I love the impact this non-profit is having on their Maker Mums and, in turn, the community at large. There is so much truth in the notion that to empower a nation, one must first empower the women, and Ubuntu Life, through their colorful, beautifully made shoes, is doing just that.
To contribute to the mission of Ubuntu Life, head to their shop and use the code OLIVIA15% for 15% off your purchase.
*Thank you to Ubuntu for sponsoring this post! As always, all opinions, photos, and creative direction is my own*