My story begins in 2008 in the small town of Essouria, Morocco. While traveling with friends, I suffered what turned out to be a very serious injury. However, at the time, I didn’t realize the severity of my injury and ended up spending 5 more days traveling throughout the country. When I got back to the states the true nature of my injury was revealed to me and I had to undergo an operation to repair my ruptured quadriceps tendon the very next day. After the operation, I was informed that there was a window for these types of injuries. If I had spent much more time in Morocco, the repair might not have been possible and I would have been crippled for life. Needless to say, I felt blessed to have returned when I did. I spent the next three months recovering, thinking about my life, and what I wanted to do with the rest of it. After a lot of thought and reflection, I determined that I wanted to find a way to make a difference in the lives of others. As a result I decided to go back to school and pursue a graduate degree in international education. I also began to research the inequities that exist in educational systems around the world along with women’s empowerment in developing countries.
In 2010 I left a lucrative position in corporate America and traveled to India and throughout Ghana to meet with members of women run cooperatives and businesses. As a result of these travels Kiroja was born. Kiroja is a Swahili word that has many definitions, but the ones I like most are: “something that brings pleasure” and “a marvel”. I feel that these two definitions describe our products and what the organizations we source from have been able to create in very challenging circumstances.