My name is Jennifer and I am the owner and designer of humble jewels. My husband, two children and I moved to Phoenix from San Francisco in early 2009. I never thought I would move to a place like Arizona from the Bay Area and I was bereft at the loss of my home. After a lot of grousing and complaining, I started to move forward and got involved in my new community. I became a volunteer for the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and began coordinating donations for newly arrived refugee families. I was completely hooked and this ended up changing my life enormously.
It was in the third year of volunteering that I met Tsega and her family. Tsega was born in Eritrea but had fled her country and had lived in a refugee camp in Ethiopia for 8 years. I had received a request from the IRC to provide donations to them because of their dire situation. Tsega’s husband had been hit by a car and had been out of work for a few months. They were in need of some very basic necessities and a large group of friends and I were able to provide these items to the family. When we went to deliver the gifts, I was shocked at the state of their living conditions – so much so, that after the delivery, I followed up with them only to find that they were going to be evicted and would have to move to a shelter. I couldn’t allow that to happen so I went back to my friends who generously provided much-needed funds that enabled the family to get out of their eviction status and eventually into subsidized housing. An added bonus was that I really began to get to know and love their family and we became unlikely friends.
Throughout this time, I had also begun to make jewelry, mostly because I was too frugal to buy it for myself! One night, as I was making a wrap bracelet, I thought, “I’d bet Tsega could do this better than I can. Maybe I could start a business so that she can make some money…” Before I could overthink this plan I contacted the IRC and asked what they thought of this idea. OF COURSE they loved it! Uh-oh. There was no backing out. I talked with my super-smart husband and he helped me to start a business – and here we are.
Tsega and I both come from humble beginnings. Our friendship has helped us both to grow and we hope that, with your support, this business will, too! Tsega is training her friends and we hope to bring on more women as we expand.
We humbly thank you for your support.