Alumni Report: Becky Chinchen

Becky Chinchen isn’t your typical Daystar Alumni. In fact, she didn’t graduate from Daystar at all. But Daystar University played an integral role in the birth of Amani ya Juu, a social enterprise that touches the lives of thousands of refugee women.  

Becky, her husband, and their four daughters were missionaries in Liberia when civil war broke out. They were forced to flee, becoming refugees themselves. They relocated to Kenya in hopes to start their ministry there. Becky enrolled in three master’s level classes at Daystar University in order to learn more about their new home and country. One of the classes she took was Community Development and the Church. Becky said, “We had an assignment to create our own community development project and I found myself at a loss because I didn’t do healthcare or agriculture or water.” So she decided to focus on what came naturally to her: textiles + refugees, with a focus on peace and reconciliation. “Because really, it doesn’t matter if we’re refugees or not, we all have this brokenness. We live in a broken world and we’re all in need of healing.”

After turning in her paper and completing the course, Becky had no intention of implementing her project. But when she heard of some refugee women in need of work, she decided to put her project into action. With a personal loan of $500, the women began making place mats in Becky’s home in Nairobi and selling them at hotels, events, and local shops. Through the blend of ministry and business Amani ya Juu emerged as a holistic economic enterprise.

 Amani ya Juu offers an opportunity for refugee women to learn important skills and, most importantly, experience peace and reconciliation. 

Amani ya Juu offers an opportunity for refugee women to learn important skills and, most importantly, experience peace and reconciliation. 

 

“And the rest is history,” Becky said. Amani ya Juu, meaning ‘peace from above’, provides a safe community for refugee women where they can heal from the wounds of their past, learn valuable skills, and make lasting friendships. The women at Amani ya Juu experience God’s peace and the profound difference it makes in their lives.

 

"Learning from an African professor at Daystar University was a huge part of the success of Amani."

 

 The women at Amani make beautiful, handmade goods including jewelry, clothing, and quilts.

The women at Amani make beautiful, handmade goods including jewelry, clothing, and quilts.

"Learning from an African professor at Daystar University was a huge part of the success of Amani," Becky said. The seeds of peace that were first sown in the Nairobi center have continued to spread and multiply. As women returned to their home countries or repatriated to new homelands, they take Amani with them. A presence of peace has been established in numerous cities, countries and communities, wherever women with a vision of peace have gone –Kakuma Refugee Camp, Rwanda, Maasailand, Burundi, Somali Eastleigh, Mathare slums, Gulu Uganda, Liberia, Washington DC, Chattanooga and more.

  Amani ya Juu  sells a collection of fair trade, handmade jewelry, textiles and more all made out of local African materials.

Amani ya Juu sells a collection of fair trade, handmade jewelry, textiles and more all made out of local African materials.