Marafiki Arts
  • Philadelphia, PA
  • United States
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Latest Activity

David McGill left a comment for Marafiki Arts
"Hi I am very interested in what you do. I am currenlty looking for a weaver in Kenya. I can be contacted at"
Mar 20, 2013
Marafiki Arts commented on Joey Instone's group USA
"Hello all. We are Marafiki Arts, an organization committed to the development of sustainable skills for women in Kenya. These skills revitalize the tradition of hands-on crafts and farming in a way that brings dignity and potential for growth to the…"
Sep 26, 2012
Marafiki Arts joined Joey Instone's group


This group is designed for the American ethical fashion community to be able to network easily and share knowledge. It is also for anyone outside of America who would like to connect with American businesses and like minded ethical fashionistas!See More
Sep 26, 2012
Marafiki Arts is now a member of Ethical Fashion SOURCE Network
Sep 26, 2012

Profile Information

Profession / role:
Creating sustainable business and education for women in Kenya.
Company / organisation:
Marafiki Arts
Website (if you have one):
My primary role in relation to fashion is:
I am looking to discover or buy
Networking, support, financial backing.
About me / About business or organisation:
Marafiki Arts has a few main goals that it reaches through its initiatives in Kenya and in Philadelphia. These goals include:
-Sustainability: Creating unique, fashion forward products from organic, ethically sourced, locally produced materials.
-Education: Both in Kenya and in Philadelphia.
-Hands-on training: Teaching traditional skills in textile production and design as well as business practices to promote self-sustaining skills and renewable sources of income for women.
-Revive Kenya's once thriving textile industry from a grassroots level.
Career history / Company history:
Marafiki Arts co-founder Lucy Lau-Bigham grew up in a community where the extended family plays a central role - economically, socially and politically. Her love for community development emerged from these early experiences.

In the Kamba tribe, little distinction is made between one's children, nieces, nephews or neighbors' children. Children address all adults as uncles and aunties. Adults welcome all children as their own, and children feel free to move from one household to another. Lau-Bigham's tribal experience nurtured her interest in helping communities of disadvantaged people.

Since graduating from the University of Nairobi with a bachelor's degree in Design, Lau-Bigham has spent more than 20 years working to provide economic opportunities for her community.

In 1992, under the sponsorship of USAID, Lau-Bigham arrived in Philadelphia, PA to pursue professional training. It was during this period that she met Christina Roberts at the Fabric Workshop and Museum. Together they saw opportunity in working with disadvantaged communities to promote sustainable economies.

In 2003, after Lau-Bigham was invited to coordinate an apprentice-training program for disadvantaged inner city high school students at the Fabric Workshop and Museum, and after an inspiring trip that Lau-Bigham and Roberts took to Kenya to meet with the Kamba in Wote, Makueni Kenya, Marafiki Arts was founded. Shortly there after, in 2004, they welcomed fellow textile expert Cynthia Porter as a member of the Board's Executive Committee.

It was Christina's four-year-old daughter, Mary Graham, who named the organization Marafiki (Swahili for 'Friends All') after witnessing Lau-Bigham's and Roberts' passionate conversations about their dreams for community development.

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At 16:08 on March 20, 2013, David McGill said…

Hi I am very interested in what you do. I am currenlty looking for a weaver in Kenya. I can be contacted at


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