Stepping through the front door of the Karama Headquarters for the first time, I felt the kindness of gentle spirits, heard the laughter of friends and knew that this was no ordinary place of business. No, Karama is set apart...a place where love and diligence unite in the Swirl of Good. Two words adequately describe each woman who has found her seat as a volunteer at the Karama table: world changer.
How does sitting at a table in Evansville, Indiana, impact the world?
I spoke with a few of our Mamas this week, who helped me define their personal impact in Karama. Our Mamas meet together on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday shifts. Some of them work 4 hours as they can, and some of them work with us 20 hours per week. They arrive, smiles on their faces, graciously volunteering of their most limited resource: time. “Each week I look forward to going to Karama to serve on a common goal,” shares longtime volunteer/ Mama Kathy.
The Beauty of the Swirl
This calling to sacrifice and service is a common thread binding all Mamas, and all parts of our Swirl of Good. Chapter 61 of Isaiah identifies this same calling “The spirit of the sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor.” The Karama Mamas have become more than just a volunteer team, but a “community of sisters in Christ” according to volunteer/Mama Teresa. Kathy refers to the swirl as “the most talented, loving, and capable people.” This calling extends to everyone in the Swirl of Good from Karama staff, to Karama artisans, and YLA staff. Mamas at the table experience the magic of connecting over a common goal, providing deep and meaningful friendships. Ministry happens at the table as women come together to serve their brothers and sisters around the world. While the mamas are receiving product, quality checking, and packaging they see the growth in artisan groups skill level and abilities. Kathy’s favorite products, the Rainbow Bath and Hand Towel, have improved in quality to the point that her diligent eye does not see any defects.
Serving to Make an Impact
So many of the artisans Karama is privileged to know and love have been set free through dignified work. As marginalized populations, each artisan not only lives in the presence of poverty, but with the many disadvantages of a developing economy… food scarcity, lack of clean water, high incidences of disease and lack of medical treatment, lack of education... as the list grows, many of these challenges are overcome by dignified work.
While Mamas can see the impact they create with one another and with artisan skill levels, the impact on the personal lives of artisans and Young Life kids is less visible. Some of our mamas have had the privilege of visiting artisans and YL camps, but many serve without seeing, keeping their eyes on the Master of their Faith. They serve as world changers because the Lord has called and anointed them to do so, demonstrating faith in the unseen results.
We are so pleased to have welcomed new staff members, Martha (Ethiopia) and Phillsters (Kenya) this year to our Swirl of Good. Through our in country production managers, Karama is able to be more hands on with artisans visiting them weekly! Read more about Martha and Phillsters and the campaign we launched to fund their hiring.
We're rejoicing with reports from Young Life Africa camps, telling us over 50% of campers are accepting Christ as Lord and Savior. Karama sends Young Life teens to camp with sales proceeds, extending the impact of these world changing Karama Mamas. What begins locally ends with social, economic, community, and spiritual impact abroad.
Mama Kathy shares her perspective on impact. “I like the idea of love, swirling and growing from this ministry. God has been the focus from the beginning and has allowed so many people to be blessed with this mission across the globe: those who have been able to work for wages to improve the lives of their families, and those of us who have had the opportunity to help. Thank you Lord for allowing me to be a part of this swirl.”