The daughter of international broadcast journalist parents, Arabella Stewart grew up in Ethiopia as a child from the ages of 3-14 and after a chance visit back in 2008, she chose to move to Ethiopia in 2009 drawn back with the desire to develop and initiate some kind of social project for children.
Learning about the basic needs for school supplies, Arabella became the Founder and Director of PROJECT PENCIL CASE (2009) and was joined by Ethiopian teacher Mikele Goitom as the Program Manager in 2011.
Arabella is also a writer and has been able to profile and highlight many social projects and individuals in Ethiopia as the Senior Writer and Editor of the local lifestyle magazine in Addis Ababa.
Through supplying underprivileged students with pencil cases and uniforms and under resourced schools with material supplies such as books and shelves through PPC, this led to the birth of a second project through generous philanthropic seed funding and becoming the Founder and Co General Manager (with Mikele Goitom) of social enterprise ARAKELE FASHION DESIGN COLLEGE (2014).
Arakele plc provides primarily marginalised women with the skills to learn how to sew and design (courses from 7 months to 2 years) and links graduates to jobs within the textile sector. Arakele also offers the chance to attend night school for girls who have failed their final school exams enabling them to retake these exams and to learn a vocational skill at Arakele, Towards course end, Arakele students produce school uniforms and pencil cases – for donation to underprivileged students and for sale to local schools and students – and they are paid for their work.
A third social enterprise business (2019) Arakele Collection hires Arakele graduates to make bright and vibrant clothing sold online and in pop up venues.
Abyssinian Artisans sells beautiful artisan fashion accessories – primarily jewellery, and scarves to complement Arakele Collection clothing – all items are ethically sourced and produced by artisans and cooperatives.
Arabella is available to give talks to help raise funds and awareness about her projects in Ethiopia; she can visit your School, College, Conference, Church, Community Center, Library, Cafe or any other venue (including your home for friends and family) that might be interested in hosting a fundraising event.
Arabella is passionate about her projects and along with presenting an interesting and colourful illustrated talk (including images of Ethiopia plus PPC and Arakele and Abyssinian Artisans). Arabella also sells items from the Abyssinian Artisans collection.
To make an enquiry or book Arabella to schedule a talk (USA or UK) – please send her an email!
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