Featured Artist Organization Carakana(Kenya)


From Our Hands to Your Heart

Have you ever wondered what goes on in a woman’s mind once they are behind bars? She is a mother, a wife, a sister, aunt, but is forgotten and is only remembered for the crimes she committed. What about the woman going through FGM?  A woman living with disability? A person recovering from substance abuse? Or a young girl forced into early marriage? It is mental torture!

Carakana is a place where these women have found a home- not just a place of acceptance but also an opportunity to earn a living. They have found hope and their dignity has been restored through the work of their hands.

Through Cross Stitch, an ancient craft that is timeless, the lives of women are being transformed. Cross Stitch involves making an X-shaped stitch on a piece of large grain fabric, which is designed to form a picture. Cross Stitching is therapeutic and gives women a place to connect as they stitch together. The end product of Cross Stich is both aesthetic and functional as a décor piece for homes, offices, hotels and other places of business.

Cross stitch by Carakana was started at Lang’ata women’s prison 5 years ago and has grown to 5 women’s prisons, has over 30 groups of vulnerable women and has a footprint in  ten counties in the Republic of Kenya and I still expanding . So far, over 1500 women have participated in this life transforming livelihood project.

The beneficiaries of the Cross Stitch by Carakana have amazing stories of how this intervention has changed their lives and those of their families. Being able to earn an honest living while behind bars has been a pleasant surprise for the beneficiaries of the Cross Stitch project.

The Cross Stitch project is aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals and to Kenya’s Big Four Agenda. The project contributes to reduction of poverty (SDG 1) , promotes Gender Equality (SDG 5) ,reduces inequalities ( SDG 10) offers decent work and economic growth(SDG  ) and also uses renewable resources in production (SDG 13).The project contributes to the manufacturing pillar of the Big Four Agenda.

Click below to hear some of the inspiring stories.