Transforming women's lives through cross stitching and craft

Learn about Carakana, a Kenyan social enterprise dealing with cross stitch and other hand made crafts made by vulnerable women, women in prison and people living with disabilities

The Elephant Pattern To A Complete Stitched Masterpiece (2021/2021) by Brian KaneneOriginal Source: Carakana

Process of Cross Stitching

The picture on the left shows a coded pattern of an unstitched cross stitch tapestry with matching threads. The image on the right is the finished cross stitched tapestry, stitched by a vulnerable woman before Carakana adds value to it, readying the piece for the market.

Elephant in the Savanna (2019/2019) by CarolineOriginal Source: Carakana

A completed masterpiece!

An elephant in the savanna wall hanging stitched by Caroline, "My name is Caroline and I am living with disability, I worked on this elephant pattern for a month and a half. I invested cash in a chicken-rearing project. I pray Carakana will continue to be blessed."

Who we work with as Carakana (2022/2022) by Brian KaneneOriginal Source: Carakana

What is Carakana?

We are a social enterprise that deals with women living with disabilities, women recovering from substance abuse, women affected by Gender Based Violence and girls who have been affected by FGM or early marriages. We give them hope, offer livelihood  and restore their dignity.

Joy in Teamwork (2018/2018) by Brian KaneneOriginal Source: Carakana

A needle and thread

Using a simple needle the women learn the unique skill of converting thread into marvellous pieces of art which are sold through Carakana. With the earnings made, the women are able to support their children’s education and basic needs. The skills learnt can also help the women rehabilitate back to society and enhance their wellbeing. 

Women Display A Completed Cross Stitched Piece (2022/2022) by Brian KaneneOriginal Source: Carakana

"Twajivunia Kazi Ya Mikono Yetu"

"We are proud of the work of our hands.'' These are words echoed by incarcerated Carakana beneficiaries who used to worry about their finances and their families. Cross stitch has not only helped with financial empowerment but also with peace of mind and a sense of pride. 

Disability Is Not Inability (2018/2018) by Brian KaneneOriginal Source: Carakana

Empowering Women

According to 2019 census, 0.9 million Kenyans live with a disability and are marginalized. Getting a source of income is a challenge. Carakana aims to empower them, as having a disability isn't  inability.  We have trained more than 1200 women and touched over 7200 peoples lives.

Friendship In The Making (2019/2019) by Brian KaneneOriginal Source: Carakana

Creating Art While Bonding

Cross stitching promotes innovation and creativity. The finished work is beautiful, a sight to behold and above all cross stitching brings people together.

Brighter Future (2019/2019) by Anastacia NziokiOriginal Source: Carakana

Stress Reliever

Cross stitching is not only for beauty but it has health benefits of reducing stress. When one is stitching, it requires attention to detail, so as to avoid many corrections. Thus as you work, you put your entire mind into the stitch work instead of thinking of stressful things.

Gender Equality (2019/2019) by DanielOriginal Source: Carakana

Men Are Included

When you are open minded  and ready to learn, nothing is impossible. Carakana imparts knowledge to vulnerable men too who are willing to learn and earn. As a man living with a disability, he is socially and financially empowered by Carakana.

Unity is Strength (2018/2018) by Brian KaneneOriginal Source: Carakana

Teamwork Makes Dream Work

Carakana's cross stitching project has ensured many friendships are forged and strong bonds made during stitching. Worries are less as people are engrossed in reading the patterns. Hope and dignity is also restored  through payments made after the completed pieces are taken. 

A Journey Of A Thousand Miles Begins With A Single Step (2018/2018) by Brian KaneneOriginal Source: Carakana

A Journey Of A Thousand Miles Begins With A Single Step

Cross stitching is an art, it can be difficult to start but once you start, it is addictive and almost impossible to stop. This statement was attested by one of the men living with albinism, who is part of the program, of how engaging and satisfying stitching has been for him.

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The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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