Monday, November 22, 2010

Kechene OTO Charm Necklace is HERE!

Nine months in the making...

The necklaces are complete, on US soil and ready for sale.
To preorder ($35), email: with Kechene in the subject line.
Note: Please feel free to repost this to your blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

This necklace was designed to assist young girls aging out of the orphanage system. (remember this post?) Supplies were shipped to the girls, who then created each necklace by hand. I had the opportunity to meet them while in Addis. What an AMAZING group of young women!

and now for the sales pitch...

Number one and most importantly...all proceeds benefit these girls and the Gladney On Their Own project (providing life skills to older girls aging out of the system) throughout Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America.

Number two...they're not mass produced, which gives such a special background to the project. The girls who benefit from the sale of each necklace are the same girls who assembled them (with much excitement and professionalism I might add!).

Lastly...they are very versatile depending on the recipient. I added an "E" to mine, signifying Ethiopia and wore often during our wait. I'll now be adding Niko's birthstone and probably an "N". (note the hidden messaging there with the birthstone reference, making for a great holiday gift for grandmothers, sisters, friends and mothers everywhere)

Our original plan was to create a design that reaches beyond the adoption community, making it possible to maximize the fundraising for these young women. A charm necklace seemed to work best and reach a wide audience.

Kai & I visiting the Kechene girls - xo

I was a bit nervous as Kai & I walked into the Kechene shop in Addis. None of us spoke the same language and I wanted so much to introduce myself and chat with these amazing women. They stared back at me as I oddly mimed various design motions (not easy). I then pointed to my necklace. There was a sudden burst of squeals, smiles and they were rushing forward with loads of hugs. We all began speaking at the same time as if we all now understood each other. It was very humbling and such an honor to spend time with the girls.

The On Their Own mission statement

To provide meaningful financial assistance and educational programs
to older, unadopted orphaned children served by Gladney Center for Adoption
in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America
to prepare them for a safe, self-sufficient life on their own.

from Gladney:

On Their Own provides support for the Kechene Women's Association, an organization of young women who have "aged out," of the Kechene Children's Home in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

There are few opportunities for these orphaned young women once they have been released from government care. Most seek low-level service industry work in Ethiopia and Middle Eastern countries, but pay is extremely low and such work is dangerous in countries with few women’s rights and no citizenship protection. Unfortunately, many fall back on prostitution to provide for themselves.

The young women of Kechene need life-skills to navigate the world, earn a living and use money wisely. They need to learn how to set goals based on safe choices, self-sufficiency, and self-esteem. They need a future that offers a chance for a long, productive, and happy life.

Your purchase of this beautiful necklace supports life-skills programs for the Kechene Women's Association. Every dollar dedicated to On Their Own is stewarded by the Gladney Center for Adoption, a 501 (c) (3) not-for-profit organization, to ensure the funds are invested in empowerment projects for orphaned children.

To learn more about the Kechene Women's Association and Gladney's programs for orphans around the world, please visit Gladney's website


  1. Just blogged about it! :) So cool that you got to meet some of the girls!

  2. Two of my children spent the first few years of their lives at Kechene with these wonderful girls loving on them. I cannot wait to preorder my necklace! Thank you for sharing!

  3. Love it. I've already asked for one for my birthday in Jan. Our son who is now 15 is from Kechene and probably knows many of the girls who make these. Thanks for your part in helping these girls.

  4. I wore mine for the first time today! I also purchased 3 as Christmas gifts for my girlfriends and a family member. Ladies- they are beautiful, sturdy, and unique. Thanks for creating a beautiful piece which will help better the lives of so many women!

  5. I just wanted to stop by and say I miss your blog, and miss getting updates. I think just for posterity you need to do a big update with pictures.

    thanks. ;)

  6. Is this blog still active? Just returned from working at a school in Kechene.