His Plan

In 2002, Vincent, a trained designer and jewellery maker, was helping out with a group of ‘street boys’ (term used for homeless men) within the Kibera slums of Nairobi, with his church group. He observed that these boys needed something practical to engage them, something to keep them away from destructive living behaviours.

He also recognised the difficulty these boys had in finding employment. “The community tends to shun them as ‘hopeless’, trouble makers, and in fact, they themselves have very low self-esteem and have trouble accepting and appreciating themselves”. Vincent came up with a plan! To create a nurturing environment where these young men could learn a trade, work with their hands, be engaged on a day to day basis – Be EMPLOYED.

His Business

Vincent has formal training in design, is a truly enthusiastic creative, and is inspired to make jewellery. With a big heart and a business brain to match, he started a business that not only trains and employs youth from the Kibera slum, but also creates spectacular hand made jewellery from cow horn and cow bone!

With a small group of street boys, he started his workshop business in 2003. It took five years to gain stability, with many highs and lows along the way. In 2008, a group of five trained, and employed young men, received their first large order! The workshop has been steadily growing since.

Vincent has worked with many ‘street boys’ over the years – currently, he has six men working full time.

His Medium

The cow horn and bone used in Vincent’s workshop, is sourced from local eateries and abattoirs. If you are thinking ‘Ewhh, poor cows’ all I can say is this…These guys are using materials that would otherwise end up in the dump (so free!), to create unbelievably cool and on trend product (ingenious, creative & talented), up-cycling, (environmentalists), having a go, and making a living! I’m thinking pretty ‘amazing’.

Bone and horn beads have a long history on the African continent. Both are great materials, due to their strength and the ease with which they can be carved, and polished by hand. While a labour of love, (there is a lot of cleaning, bleaching, carving, sanding) the end result makes for some truly unique and beautiful pieces.

His Success Story

Ishmael, was one of the very first young men to start with Vincent back in 2003. Ishmael’s early years consisted of living on the streets with his mates, drugs, going to dumps within Nairobi to find rubbish to sell and live on.

Today, he is a part-owner in the business, plays a pivotal role in management and training, and enjoys the challenge of working within a growing business he helped create. He now lives in his OWN house, is married with one son and is definitely one very happy young man with an infectious smile!

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Latest Articles on Vincent

Cow Horn Wonder-ful

Cow Horn & Jewellery Jewellery made from cow horn & bone has been a long time tradition in Kenya. The use of this material for some people, is 'off putting' and even controversial. It is a personal choice of course, but knowledge is king,...

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Into the Wild

If there is ever an excuse to visit Vincent & Ishmael on the horizon, I'm all over it. It means venturing into what is known as 'slum' land - but the experience is far from your expectations.  These guys are truly top notch, always in...

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Tinkered by Vincent

A sample of some of Vincent and Ishmael’s fantastic work with cow horn!

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Chunky Chain Horn Necklace

A collaboration piece between Vincent and Kairu! Vincent crafted the large cow horn links, Kairu add the leather neckline.

Cow horn hoop earrings

Each earring is hand cut from the tip section of each horn, making their shape and colours truly unique.

Set of three Horn Bangles

This set of three up-cycled cow horn bangles will get you on your way to the layered look!

Slim Horn Necklace

Aluminium S-hook for clasp means this piece can be worn in multiple ways around the neckline or as a belt.