Cornell University Kenyan graduate making a difference in the Community

“Youth” and “community contributors” are words that are rarely uttered in the same breathe. It is always encouraging, however, to come across young people who have a passion to make a difference in their community. Such is the story of James Muna, a Kenyan graduate of Cornell University, who has channeled his entrepreneurial skills to not only benefit his personal and professional growth, but to also aid in the development of his society. His business venture, however ubiquitous, is unique in its vision and its overall goals, and this is what sets him and his venture, Bora Wear, apart from the crowd. And did we mention that he is a Kenyan youth? He is our very own, pioneering a path to greatness and laying the groundwork for others to build upon. James Muna’s story should inspire us all to follow our dreams with resilience, and to actively seek out ways to make our society better. This is what hard work, determination, and success looks like.

  • What is Bora Wear?

  1. Bora Wear is an African street wear company that uses traditional fabrics from Africa in unique and interesting ways, and gives part of the proceeds to TOTO Love, an orphanage for HIV+ children in Embu, Kenya.

  • How is it different from other products out in the market today?

  1. There are several points that differentiate Bora Wear from other clothingAt a more general level, we at Bora Wear, unlike many other clothing companies, are trying to make a difference in our community with our products, as opposed to only having a once-a-year offering that has some positive impact. Against more African-centric clothing, Bora Wear stands out since it isn’t using the same motifs of drums, animals, or the African silhouettes. Viewed with other companies that are using African fabrics, the benefit of Bora Wear is the subtlety that each piece presents. It can be very easy to hit people in the face with these bright patterns, but we try hard to make these fabrics accessible so that others, and not only Africans, can wear them.

  • What is the vision/mission/objectives for Bora Wear?

  1. Our vision is: Better clothes, Better Africa. Bora Wear comes out of my fixation to do something positive back in Kenya. My family moved to the States in 2001, and I feel filled with such immense privilege and think that I must do something to make Africa a better place than it was when I was born. The ultimate goal for Bora Wear is to go from cotton to shirt. It is about empowering and employing individuals through the entire process of making clothes, which will not only give exposure to these fabrics but have an impact on people’s lives.

  • How did this vision come about?

  1. Starting a business was never part of my initial plan when entering university. Originally, I was studying engineering, and after a semester I realized that it was a painful way to make a living and that it wouldn’t allow me to make the impact I wanted. I floated through some other career paths, but the vision for Bora Wear came from my past summer in Kenya. I was staying with a relative who owns a real estate development company, and I really saw the impact that entrepreneurship could have, from the workers building the house all the way to the office workers who were so grateful for their jobs. That is when the entrepreneurial bug hit me. I had already been toggling with the idea of starting a clothing company of some sort, but sitting at the dinner table with my cousin was when I finally decided that coupling the clothing company with the mission to do something great in Kenya could work together.

  • What strategies are you employing to carry out your vision?

  1. I graduated from Cornell University with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics inIn order to maximize my success, I am part of the eLab (a business incubator at Cornell), which provides me with mentorship and guidance in starting this business.

  • Tell us a bit more about TOTO Love Children’s Home? Why did you pick this particular organization to give to?

  1. First, my mother’s side of the family is from Embu, and I spent many of my early years there. Secondly, my grandmother has been donating clothes to this organization for as long as I can remember (before I really understood what was going on, some of my old clothes were donated there). So I already have a connection. Lastly due to these connections, I know that it is a reputable place that will not take the money and spend it frivolously.

  • If there is anyone/any company/organization that you could have the opportunity to work with to fulfill your vision, who/what would that be?

  1. There are a whole bunch of companies that I would love to work with. When you are a small company, any time you can work with someone larger than you it adds legitimacy to your work, and also raises awareness about the brand. To that end, collaboration with the hundreds would be amazing if we could do something with kitenges, shukas, or kikoys. Another example would be a collaboration with Vans; applying the fabrics to their shoes would make them that much more

  • You are a young, African man who has shown a great interest in contributing to his community. What advise do you have for others who may have the same passion for involvement in their society, but do not know how?

  1. The best advice I can tell people is just to try something, and if you don’t like it try something else. I think it is easy to get caught up in all the choices of how to get involved. Just do something. I always think that if you have some underlying passion and drive, you will find infinite ways to reach your goal so just get out there and see which path you like best and stick to it.

  • How can people be involved/contribute to this project?

  1. We are really trying to get the word out about the company so liking the Facebook page or talking to people about the company and the mission would be a great help. If people want to get more involved, then they could email me at [email protected] This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we can discuss further.

For more on his project, please visit borawear.com.  You can also follow James Muna on twitter @BoraWear and you can also find Borawear on facebook at facebook.com/borawear

Source:kimmediagroup.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

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