Jan 12, 2015
Our EXPLORE staff doesn’t dress up for work. In fact, you can find the majority of us working in our yoga pants 90% of the time in preparation for our exercise classes at lunchtime. That’s the Steamboat Springs life for you, and also the work environment of a small group of women. But when we do dress up, trust us, we make it count and look for statement pieces that no one will forget because of the story that’s behind them.
Our newest obsession for 2015 is the amazing hand-made jewelry Katie McDonough, one of our Custom Travel Specialists, purchased for the staff on her recent visit to African Bush Camp properties in Zimbabwe (Sign-up for our February 2015 EXPLORE More Newsletter for more details on her trip). Each piece has proven to be a conversation generator and has a great story behind it.
These breathtaking pieces of jewelry are hand-made out of recycled materials – like old magazines – by the Vukani Group in Dete, Zimbabwe (near Hwange National Park). The Vukani Group is made up of sixteen people who started an Income-Generation Project in 2010 for Dete and the surrounding areas. This community does not have electricity or running water and it suffers from little access to education and high poverty levels. Many of the children have become orphans or are cared for by their grandparents due to the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Although the area has so much working against it, the Vukani Group has brought a bit of light.
Their jewelry project alone has had great success with many of its sales coming from guests shopping for souvenirs at African Bush Camp Properties. The group also started an Organic Vegetable Garden on a piece of land belonging to one of the members of the group, allowing for access to fresh produce in the community.
Other of EXPLORE’s ‘conscious shopping’ ideas:
Lauren Bush’s FEED Bags – products that help feed the world
Liberty United Jewelry – made from recycled bullets and guns to help stop gun violence in America