Products Made in Africa are Awesome
My friends and I recently did an interview with Oliberte – a “made in Africa” footwear company whose shoes I own and enjoy very much. And although I do love their crafted leather boots, what I appreciate more about this company is their approach to providing developing nations with industry, not aid. Very much like our work at Krochet Kids intl. they believe that people in Ethiopia need opportunity to begin to pave their own path forward through jobs and education. They believe products made in Africa are a powerful tool for change.
Below is some of what we discussed. You can read the interview in its entirety HERE.
What is one of the most common misconceptions you think people have about developing countries?
Kohl: Misconceptions around poverty; why people are poor and the capabilities of people that live in developing countries. We believe, and through our work we’ve learned, that given opportunities, people are very capable and surprise you with what they can accomplish for themselves and for their families.
Stewart: In that sense too, that idea that people are people. We’re not that different from one another. Yes we have different cultures, and yes we eat different foods and stuff. But for the most part, if you go to Uganda, there’s amazingly happy people, and there’s sad people, and there’s crooks. Everything that is represented everywhere else is also represented there, so to think that it’s a seemingly other world or that they’re incapable or think so backwards or different … all of those population groups or types of people are more or less represented.
On a completely different note … why pickleball?
All three, finishing each-others’ sentences: We got this space, and said we had to have a pickleball court. Pickleball was created in Seattle, we played it in racket sports in high school. And I think overall, the work-life balance is big for us: Work hard, play hard. That’s another misconception of non-profit work in general — in people’s minds, there are these two buckets or categories: I’m having fun or I’m helping people. And they do one or the other. We’re trying to break that mold on all of that. How do you integrate loving and caring for people into your work, into your play? The more that you can merge those things, the more happy and balanced you will be as a person. And, it’s more fun to play pickleball than it is to not play pickleball.