There’s more to accessories than fashion, the Rafikis trend is all about giving back—together with your friends. Help spread the word with the WE are Rafikis campaign.

Text & Illustrations by Amy Van Es

 

Good news: friendship bracelets are back. This time around, though, ME to WE has added a little something extra to the trend: doing good around the world. How? By giving a ‘hand up’ (not a ‘hand out’) to women around the world as they forge opportunity for themselves and their family.

We call them Rafikis, which means ‘friend’ in Swahili, the national language of Kenya. Every day, Kenyan artisans—working together with WE Villages—craft these beautiful, handmade bracelets for a fair wage. And every time you buy one of these creations, you are using your purchasing power as a consumer to help these Mamas—as they’re known in the local community—support their family.

One-off shopping at the ME to WE Store is a first step, but should you want to do even more to help the Mamas’ communities, there’s the WE are Rafikis campaign. It’s super simple! For every $10 Rafiki you sell, five dollars goes to your WE villages fundraising project—right back into the lives of the female entrepreneurs who crafted your bracelets.

To get started, follow these four steps and before you know it, you’ll be even closer to friends (given your matching accessories and all), on top of building a strong community of women globally.

 

The quickest way to get your campaign started is to pick up the WE Are Rafikis Fundraising Starter Kit from your local Staples. If you don’t have a Staples nearby, you can also order them online or pick up a kit at WE Day.

Inside the Starter Kit, there will be a couple sample bracelets. Use these to show friends and family what they can expect, if they order their own. When playing show and tell, take the opportunity to feel out how many Rafikis you think you can sell. Goal setting is a really important element of fundraising and a great way to motivate you and your friends to stay excited about the campaign.

So, how many Rafikis can you sell? We suggest aiming for 10, but if you can sell more… get it, kid!

Pro tip: Don’t forget to connect with your WE Schools Partnership Manager to find out which new Rafikis are available this season.

It’s time to learn all about the impact your fundraising will make in a WE Villages community! The coolest thing about the WE are Rafikis campaign is that you can see exactly where the money you’ve collected is going. In fact, you and your friends actually get to help decide.

Our development model is made up of these things called ‘pillars of impact,’ which include water, food, education, health, and opportunity. These are the five types of support we provide partner communities. To learn more about the pillars, visit we.org for info on WE Villages. The information you’ll find here will help you decide which pillar you feel most passionate about.

Once you’ve chosen your pillar/cause, you’ll be able to see the real, tangible change you’ve helped create via Track Your Impact. It starts with a code! (More info to come.) These impacts could include anything from a clean water well right in the community to school supplies for a classroom. The possibilities are endless with your help!

There are a ton of actions you can take in your school to spread the word about your campaign! Every school is different, so think about what kids get really excited about in your community. In the meantime, here are a few simple options to get the ball rolling.

Do the kids in your school go gaga for good style? Display your sample Rafikis on a table in the cafeteria or foyer to catch their eye.

You could also put up campaign posters around campus. Talk to your WE School advisor to get your hands on our latest designs… or even better, make your own!

Savvy on social media? Post about your campaign and have your closest friends do the same. It wouldn’t be the first time doing good went viral.

Now that you’ve piqued everyone’s interest, it’s time to take orders! Download these cute order forms for your friends to fill out. It asks things like their name, how many bracelets they want and which pillar they support—everything we need to know to find their perfect Rafiki.

Once you’ve collected all your orders, send the forms along with the money you’ve collected back to us and wait for your bracelets to arrive!

One last thing—more info on Track Your Impact, as promised!

When the Rafikis arrive at your doorstep, they will each have a personalized code on the packaging. Be sure to encourage friends to head over to trackyourimpact.com. Once there, they can type in the code and unlock their Rafiki’s impact—meaning shoppers see exactly where there money is going!

Okay, that’s it for us.  Now it’s your turn. Take part in the WE are Rafiki campaign, and show women across the globe you stand with them—that’s what friends are for, right?

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