RoHo & Our Artisan Updates

Whew, what a wild few months. We’re here to offer an update on our artisans and a glimmer of hope!

As many of you know, we started a mask project in April to support our artisans in staying food secure. As a result of thousands of mask sales, we have helped to feed our 300 food insecure artisans and their families, upwards of 1,500 people, for several months. It’s been an incredible journey, thank you to all of you who have supported. 

Fortunately, the pandemic has not hit Kenya as hard as expected as 80% of infected Kenyans appear to be asymptomatic. And Kenyans seem to be dying of COVID-19 at far lower rates than elsewhere in the world. Officially, 581 people have died of COVID in Kenya (although the true total is likely higher – the country has limited testing capacities, especially in rural areas). Kenyan hospitals have not been overwhelmed with patients in the way we’d all feared. It’s still unclear why Kenya has such a low death count, but the country’s youthfulness is likely a large factor. Half of the population is younger than 20 and only 4% are 60 or older. Kenya doesn’t have the healthcare infrastructure of the United States, so if they had been hard hit, it would have been disastrous. We are all feeling very fortunate that Kenya has stayed relatively safe. 

Our artisans thankfully need us less to provide food support, but there is still a need! Kenya and our artisan workshops are opening back up, but tourism has virtually halted and our artisans have fewer opportunities to sell their wares to those who visit. Incomes are being slashed. Fortunately, the locust plague that arrived in Kenya in May is largely gone, although there are still questions about how many crops were damaged and what this will do to food prices in the future.

We are at an uncertain time in Kenya (and the world for that matter) and yet it’s not all bad. We continue to sell our products, which in turn supports our artisans and their families. Plus we receive great feedback from our customers and are in discussions with new artisan groups to share unique new wares with you all. Thank you for continuing to support RoHo and our artisans!

If you need a mask top up or gift, please consider supporting our collections.