Home > FAQs

Where do I go for my "in-store pickup" purchases?
512 East Riverside Drive, Suite 270 Austin, TX 78704 // (512) 769-4127 Click here for Google Map directions.

Is the LIFE Line really produced entirely in Kenya?

Yes! We’ve established authentic relationships with all of the Kenyan companies and individuals that make the LIFE Line possible: from the Indian Kenyan cotton canvas manufacturer to the African Kenyan screen printer; from the Dutch Kenyan leather manufacturer to the mothers of children with special needs who make the cotton canvas products; from the Maasai women who make our bracelets to the Indian Kenyans who source our zippers and tags.
These relationships reflect our approach to development: going “a mile deep and an inch wide”, entering into mutually beneficial relationships with people and companies and growing collaboratively. As the LIFE Line grows, so too do all of the players on the team and in the industry.

How many people in Kenya does the LIFE Line support?
27 Malaika Mums
400+ Maasai Mums
1 Manager (Liz)
1 Operations Director (Jess)
22 employees at Leather Works
75+ employees at Color Creations
100+ employees at Sunflag
5 caretakers for students at Malaika Kids school
81 children of Malaika Mums
1800+ estimated kids & grandkids of Maasai Mums
Total individuals supported by the LIFE Line = 2,514+

What’s the difference between the Malaika Mums and the Maasai Mums?
The 27 Malaika Mums work out of our LIFE Line office in Maai Mahiu, Kenya to produce all of our canvas products including the LIFE Bag, LIFE Jacket, and LIFE Change. Of the Malaika Mums, 19 have children with special needs and 2 have physical disabilities themselves. The Maasai Mums are a co-op of over 400 women, all members of the Maasai tribe, who produce the LIFE Line beaded products. They work in multiple areas of Kenya including Ngong, Kajiado, Narok, Nakuru, and Maai Mahiu.

What does malaika mean?
Malaika is a Swahili word that means “angel.”

How much do the Malaika Mums get paid?
Over 40% of Kenyans live on less than $2 per day (World Bank, 2010), but the LIFE Line Mums make over 3 times that amount each day. We provide fair salaries for the Mums as well as financial coaching, business management classes and health insurance. Thanks to our partnerships with Allegro Coffee, Whole Foods Market, Zazzle & American Eagle each Malaika Mum’s average monthly income has tripled and we’ve been able to hire 18 new women!

How much do the Maasai Mums get paid?
LIFE Line provides each woman with the cut leather strap, glass beads, needle and thread to produce each LIFE Bracelet. The women are paid for each piece they make, typically producing 3-5 per day. Over 40% of Kenyans live on less than $2 per day (World Bank, 2010), but the Maasai Mums make 3 times that in one day of work.

How much of the profits go back to the community?
The LIFE Line is a program of CTC International, a 501c3 U.S. non-profit and a registered Kenyan trust. All profits go directly back into the entrepreneural development efforts of CTC International. We believe that a holistic approach is the only way to truly address poverty at its core, and giving a woman a job is just the beginning. Without addressing environmental, educational, and health issues as well, true progress cannot be achieved. Read more about our programs including Café UBUNTU, Livestock Coop, Waste Management and more on CTC’s website, www.ctcinternational.org

How did the LIFE Line get started?
CTC International launched the lifestyle brand known as the LIFE Line in 2008. The LIFE Line was an innovative idea created out of necessity to sustain another CTC program known as Malaika Kids. Malaika Kids is a school for children with special needs, the only school of its kind in the Kenyan Rift Valley. We realized that we needed a way to sustain Malaika Kids rather than solely depending on donors as the program was growing rapidly, and the mothers of these children now needed something to do since they were no longer required to be home at all times caring for their children. The result was the LIFE Line, enabling the women to make locally sourced products by hand and creating a global market for those products.

What other benefits are provided to the Mums?
In addition to a steady and reliable income, the LIFE Line creates a community for these women where they can connect with other women and share their lives. Almost every Malaika Mum has said that, before joining the program, she thought she had the only child with special needs in the entire community. They have expressed great gratitude at having a community of support with whom they can share the difficulties and the triumphs of raising their children. Knowing they are not alone has been one of the most widely stated benefits of the LIFE Line program.

Thoughts on the LIFE Line from our Mums:
What do you like best about working on the LIFE Line?

Josephine Wanjiru: “It is a golden chance. I now get a salary that helps educate my kids and we can get food.”

Zipporah Wambui: “Sharing with other Mums and having less stress. Life is smooth.”

Joyce Njeri:It offers me emotional support and encouragement especially when we share life stories and the changes that have taken place in our lives, having these kids with special needs.”

Susan Njeri: “It makes me feel sana mono (very good; whole).”

Further Reading:
NPR Article on LIFE Line