In the Fall of 2017, barely a year after Christine Nakaoka moved to Uganda to serve Jesus Christ, the former designer from New York City providentially encountered a group of South Sudanese Refugee women living in Uganda. These women needed work to provide for their families, but they also needed healing, empowerment, and restored joy in Christ. The refugee women knew basic crochet and beading, and Christine had lots of ideas and a good background in design and retail. So Christine began meeting with a few of them regularly to explore ways to create a sustainable working environment that would meet the women’s practical needs and bring them joy and growth in Christ. As an outcome of those meetings, KIRABO Gifts and Accessories Workshop was officially launched on March 1, 2018. Kirabo means ‘gift’; Jesus is the greatest gift.
Kirabo Workshop exists to glorify God by providing opportunities for creative work to those in need, and to help restore dignity and joy through beauty in Christ. The type of work and products they make are based on the desire to make beautiful things together. By developing their skills for the purpose of making gifts, they bring joy to themselves and their customers and glorify God. Their inspiration comes from the unfathomable love and beauty of Jesus Christ and his creation. They believe that beautiful and unexpected things can be made from the simplest of ideas and humble materials.
The Kirabo Workshop is now comprised of Ugandan and South Sudanese refugees living in Kampala. The group participates in morning devotions where they read and discuss Scripture and pray together. During the devotions, the women are being taught Christ-centered work ethics and the importance of building a trust-based environment. One of these Kirabo women is a Ugandan who joined Kirabo as a Muslim, but after a year of working with the group and being a part of their morning devotions, she became a follower of Christ. All of them say that coming to know Christ more personally and being part of a family of believers is the best thing about being part of Kirabo. The women are learning the joy of doing beautiful work with love for God’s glory. During this season of Covid-19, they are working from home and continuing to make what they can, while keeping in touch with each other as much as possible and encouraging one another in the Word. They look forward to being together in person once more and to bringing more people to the Kirabo community.