Shikha writes to me from Kenya, the country where she was born and reared and which she calls home; her Indian descent distinctly flavoring her experience there. I read how her work in the Middle East, Asia, and Europe has shaped her identity as a 'citizen of the world'. She wants to be a part of the Ibu Movement.
I learn that Shika's a lawyer by profession working in a corporate practice and deeply involved in a conservation project. In order to raise funds for an animal orphanage, Shikha begins to create African beaded jewelry. As she wanders the markets across Africa, she falls under the spell of colors and textures and the stories alive in the beads.
Finally, Shikha falls for the demands of her creative heart and puts aside her legal career, jumping all-soul into her artistry. She now works with women artisans in Kenya to make jewelry, to make new lives.
I responded to Shikha's letter, but it wasn't until she walked into our door at Ibu that we fell for her massive charms. Shikha brought her one of a kind prized pieces of vintage amulets, dazzlingly constructed and wrapped in lovely bags inside colorful hand-made boxes. And she brought her beautiful spirit.
Shikha is now creating custom jewelry for Ibu, along with her team, making striking neckpieces to turn any basic outfit into a standout look. Each one is rife with history - from Turkana to Ghana to Timbuktu - where she has traveled and traded and discovered treasure.
In Hindi, her name Shikha means the tip of the flame. In Swahili, the same word means, to hold. Shikha lives into both of those inheritances. She lives by the flame in her soul, leaping into possibility. And she holds the dreams of others in her hands. By honoring both, she lights the world.
And like all who live this way, following bliss and benevolence, she lights our world as well.
All the Best,
Susan Hull Walker