Nasimiyu Wekeasa, I was born to a Ugandan mother and reared in Kenya, Bungoma district. Growing up in a family of 40 children has given me a deep sense of commitment to the tribes and people of Africa. This commitment was so much a part of me that when I arrived in the U.S. in 1994, I opened a business called Zebra Trading Company in Berkeley Ca which sold African arts and crafts. I traveled twice a year back to Africa to supply the store with beautiful handmade creations, thereby supporting work cooperatives as well as individual men and women in their struggle to survive.
After a couple of years travelling around Africa I had firsthand knowledge of the devastation and suffering caused by the AIDS epidemic and poverty. Nowhere is this more pronounced than in its effects on the children whose lives are at stake. The pain and suffering are vast and cross many lines: I was awakened when it hit my village especially. I lost friends I grew up with and ones close to my heart. That was the time changecame to my heart.
In 1997 I started designing jewelry and began giving 60 percent of the proceeds from sales to the orphans in my village to support them, with the help of my sister Mukaoya Wekesa and Rasoa Rasito, an older woman in the village who became a new mother again to orphans when all the parents were gone.
In 2001 my jewelry evolved, becoming pieces of art, and offered me an ability to increase my support of children in need. So I started a small house for children in Nairobi caring for only 7 children. Those were children who most needed help, and the house was close to the clinic and school. We also still continued to support some children in the village.
In 2003 I moved to Marin County and opened Old African Fine Art, a store selling high end Arts and one of a kind fine jewelry. I moved the orphans from Nairobi to Mombasa in order to expand and to help more. In the same year I met Jen Nichols, who had lived in rural Kenyan villages and seen and experienced the suffering of the women and children. We shared a lot in common. I felt uplifted; she gave me hope to be able to accomplish my mission . She started changing lives, making a difference and still not forgetting my life too. She organized special trunk shows with friends and families for the past 6 yrs. All of the trunk shows were very successful. Women came to support as a team, lending their hearts and hands, enabling us to continue and thrive. We were able to keep providing for the needs of the children by giving a larger percentage of our sales . We were also able to finance the start of the foundation called Born to Aid .
In 2008,we opened a store, Nasimiyu Designs, focusing on jewelry and African fine art. Ten percent of your purchase goes to Born to Aid, a non profit 501 (c) (3) foundation. and an NGO registered in Kenya. Any kind of your donations can make a change.