Grain of Rice Project

 
 

I photographed new products for the Grain of Rice Project, a fair trade Christian mission organization, and it was a such a fun experience! I loved having the opportunity to do something a little different, shooting indoors in a studio setting and working with models. Taylor, Caroline, Nia B., Conner, Amy, Nia T., and Alisa were all fab to work with.

 
 Shutter Up Studios | Commercial product photographer in Lafayette, Indiana | Fair trade artisan made jewelry from Kibera slum, Nairobi, Kenya
 

The Grain of Rice Project works with local artists in Kibera slum outside Nairobi, Kenya. They fairly pay artists to make jewelry and decorations that are then sold in the United States. Having a steady income allows the artists to pay for their children's school fees and build better lives outside the slum!

 
 Shutter Up Studios | Commercial product photographer in Lafayette, Indiana | Fair trade artisan made stuffed giraffe animal from Kibera slum, Nairobi, Kenya
 Shutter Up Studios | Commercial product photographer in Lafayette, Indiana | Fair trade artisan made stuffed elephant from Kibera slum, Nairobi, Kenya
 

It's kind of a funny story how I connected with the Grain of Rice Project. In 2016, when I studied abroad in Tanzania, one of my favorite souvenirs was a stuffed lion made from African kitenge fabric. I searched all over the market for the perfect one that had the coolest yarn mane.

A few months later when I was back in Indiana, I was walking around the Blueberry Festival in my hometown. There are a lot of yard ornaments, clothing, and funnel cakes. Suddenly a display of stuffed African fabric animals caught my eye. They looked just like the lion I bought in Tanzania, and I was immediately interested. I started talking to the people at the booth and learned about the Grain of Rice Project!

I was so happy to discover them, and my husband and I wound up traveling to Kenya the next summer to volunteer with GORP in Kibera slum. It all just feels very lucky I discovered them that day. God definitely knew what he was doing.

During our two weeks in Kibera, we got to know the artists, led Bible studies, ate some fabulous food, and played soccer very badly.

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On the right in the red jersey, that's me, playing soccer with some of the GORP guys!

I am genuinely the worst soccer player ever, but they were all so nice and encouraging of me.

 
 Shutter Up Studios | Commercial product photographer in Lafayette, Indiana | Fair trade artisan made jewelry from Kibera slum, Nairobi, Kenya
 Shutter Up Studios | Commercial product photographer in Lafayette, Indiana | Fair trade artisan made jewelry from Kibera slum, Nairobi, Kenya
 Shutter Up Studios | Commercial product photographer in Lafayette, Indiana | Fair trade artisan made jewelry from Kibera slum, Nairobi, Kenya
 Shutter Up Studios | Commercial product photographer in Lafayette, Indiana | Fair trade artisan made jewelry from Kibera slum, Nairobi, Kenya
 Shutter Up Studios | Commercial product photographer in Lafayette, Indiana | Fair trade artisan made jewelry from Kibera slum, Nairobi, Kenya
 Shutter Up Studios | Commercial product photographer in Lafayette, Indiana | Fair trade artisan made jewelry from Kibera slum, Nairobi, Kenya
 Shutter Up Studios | Commercial product photographer in Lafayette, Indiana | Fair trade artisan made school supplies with kitenge fabric and paper beads from Kibera slum, Nairobi, Kenya
 Shutter Up Studios | Commercial product photographer in Lafayette, Indiana | Fair trade artisan made table runner made of kitenge fabric from Kibera slum, Nairobi, Kenya
 Shutter Up Studios | Commercial product photographer in Lafayette, Indiana | Fair trade artisan made stocking garland from Kibera slum, Nairobi, Kenya