Biala - Website, Print & Branding
After ten years of being on the board of Rafiki Mwema, I finally met the children and staff in Kenya, whom we work so hard to give a voice to.
Rafiki Mwema is a safe house for traumatised children in Nakuru, Kenya. It has been my passion to help these children in any way I can since my close friend Sarah Rosborg asked me to start a charity with her ten years ago.
In November 2022, I had the opportunity to travel to Kenya and witness the fantastic work being done by Rafiki Mwema first-hand. I joined Sarah Rosborg, the founder of Rafiki Mwema, on this journey – one she has done many times.
I have been talking about our children at Rafiki for the last ten years. I was involved in the fundraiser to buy our land and build new homes. I’ve met some of the children and staff over Zoom, and I read the heartbreaking stories of the children every day.
Yet nothing (nothing) could have prepared me for this visit. I was expecting to be a blubbering mess. I am a crier (with a not-very-nice cry face) and expected to be surrounded by sadness.
From the moment we arrived at Doyle Farm, all I experienced was happiness. The children and staff are all so happy and playful. Of course, the stories behind the children are beyond sad, but you can feel their happiness on the farm because they are safe here. They are loved, protected and secure.
There was non-stop laughter, playing and dancing. And music! All day long. We stayed near the big girl's house, and the music and dancing started around 6 am and finished long after us nanas went to bed.
Thanks to our incredible supporters, sponsors and donors, our children are happy, safe, well-fed, well-clothed, well-educated, and appreciative of things our children take for granted.
The older children are involved in the cleaning, cooking and running of their houses. The smells coming from their kitchens were delicious – thanks to the fresh produce direct from our own farm.
We grow most of our own veggies to feed the children and staff – potatoes, carrots, cabbages, onions, beans, kale and tomatoes, as well as bananas and strawberries. We have cows for milk, chickens for eggs, and we will soon get goats and geese.
We spent a lot of time with the children at the farm – playing, doing crafts, sports and activities.
The farm is so big when you see it in real life! We have really created a little village for our Rafiki family. Our 14-acre property is safe as - surrounded by bushes that have the longest and most vicious thorns I have ever seen. It is also surrounded by an electric fence that’ll give you a good warning if you tried to get through it, and then you’d have to contend with our pack of German Shepherd dogs and our Maasai guards, who are armed with deadly, snake-venom tipped, arrows.
There is a lot of space for the children, the staff and the animals. There’s a football pitch at the boys end, where the boys and girls train in fitness daily. There’s a playground for the smaller kids, a school, therapy rooms, staff offices and then there are our houses, where the children live.
The girls live between two main houses. The big girls are in the Queen’s Castle, a house built thanks to a big fundraiser with Constance Hall in 2016. We have 16 big girls – from 12 to 19 years old. Some of our young ladies have been with us since they were little girls, and the changes we see in them are amazing.
The small girls are in another house on their own secure ‘compound’. 26 small girls, with seven of them being under the age of five. They are so adorable and so squeaky! They love you unconditionally – all they want is to feel loved and protected – and they so are. The staff are excellent – like their mamma, aunty, and big sister rolled into one. And they genuinely care for the children as if they are their own. All the little girls want to hold your hand. It’s funny, they grab a finger each, and you have 3 or 4 girls on each arm.
The boys are in their own big house (The King’s Castle) – 22 of them – from 4 to 19 years old. The boys are SO different to the girls. The girls squeal and want to hug, touch and be with you. The boys are way too cool for school – until you get to know them. We had a movie night with the boys, and they were all up and dancing – I even had one of the little ones fall asleep in my arms. The boys love their sport, their music and looking ‘cool’ – and they do all of these things so well! We are collaborating with the Northern Rivers Football Academy to bring our kids at Rafiki closer to our children here with a shared passion. While in Kenya, we Facetimed the academy, and they saw our boys playing, wearing their NRFA-sponsored kits, and demonstrating some awesome skills. This collaboration will grow with the setting of football challenges and skills sessions.
I was looking forward to meeting our street family at Rafiki Mtaani, and I will admit to a little (big) cry. Rafiki Mtaani means ‘a friend on the street’ in Swahili. It is a program established by our children at Rafiki Mwema to ensure their street brothers and sisters receive a nutritious meal every day. To say it was heart-warming to see this program's impact on these children's lives is an understatement. Every day, we provide 100 children on the streets of Nakuru with a nourishing meal, a safe place to sleep, and an opportunity to wash themselves and their clothes. We play games with them, provide books and basic medical attention. Additionally, thanks to the awesomeness of our program managers, the children receive daily education on self-care, gender-based violence, self-respect and respect for others, along with maths, reading and physical exercise.
Most of the children sniff glue – it is an escape from the reality of life alone on the streets. It is sad to see, but also understandable. I didn’t feel unsafe at all. They are so loving and grateful – and some are so young, which is heartbreaking. So yes, I did fall in love with them, and I did want to put them all on the next plane to Australia. But that isn’t what they need. These kids must be brought up as Kenyans, the Kenyan way – not as Australians. What we can do is give them the tools they need to stay safe, look after themselves, learn and help them edge closer to independence.
You can’t go to Africa without seeing the wildlife. Our good friend and owner of Boro Kesha Safari Tours, Jimmy, took us on a safari tour to Lake Nakuru, where we saw some of the most incredible wildlife in their natural habitat. The size of the lake and the number of flamingos that call it home leaves you breathless – and there are only a fraction of the flamingo population there now compared to a few years ago. We saw giraffes, zebras, baboons, monkeys (nick-named blue balls, thanks to their… blue balls), gazelles, rhino and water buffalo. Despite a good look, we didn’t see Simba – next time…
Seeing the impact of the work that we, and so many volunteers, do at Rafiki Mwema was life-changing. It reminds you of the importance of giving back and making a difference in the world.
At Barefruit Marketing, we are committed to positively impacting our community, and others. We believe that by working together, we can make a real difference in the world. We are proud to support Rafiki Mwema, and I am honoured to be a part of the Rafiki family on this journey.
In summary, my trip to Kenya was a powerful reminder of the incredible impact humans can make when we put our minds to something and pull together. I am grateful for the opportunity to witness the amazing work we all do for Rafiki Mwema and for the chance to support these children on their journey towards a brighter future.
Supporting Rafiki Mwema, as with most causes, doesn’t just have to be financial, although that is what keeps the lights on. But donating your time, your skills, and even the odd social share also makes a big difference.
It doesn’t have to be huge but imagine where the world could be if we all did something.
I hope to see the children and staff again soon – but they are firmly in my heart until we meet again.
Find out more about Rafiki Mwema and the work we do, here
Related tag: marketing byron bay
If we have learnt anything from the generosity of our communities over the last couple of months, it’s that we have a lot of stuff we don’t actually need. So much so that evacuation centres closed their doors to donations, saying they have all they need and more. With most of the physical clean-up now done, ‘volunteer fatigue’ can set in. However, our community still needs a lot of love and support, especially those who lost homes, businesses and are separated from loved ones. This is a good time to focus on the little things we can do to make someone’s day that little bit better.
We all know how the concept works, so let’s put it into action all around our community. For small businesses operating as usual, think about ways you can give your customers opportunities to ‘pay it forward’. Be Waxed and Tanned in River Street, Ballina have set up a simple system whereby customers can buy a gift voucher which staff can use, at their discretion, to treat a future customer to a little pampering. Little luxuries like this go such a long way. Imagine if most Ballina businesses led the way in setting up something like this to enable customers to ‘pay it forward’…
Consider whether your business is in a position to ‘pay it forward’. Remember, you rely on the community for ongoing business, so showing them love and support in a time like this is extremely important. Plus, doing nice things for others feels really good! Can you provide your products or services at a discounted rate, offer flood victims a meal or a drink on the house or, simply raise money in-store to donate to a flood recovery charity? At Barefruit, we’ve teamed up with Green Coast Coffee in River Street and have pre-paid for 80 coffees for flood victims. It’s the little things that make the biggest difference and your business will benefit in the long-run
Our human nature is to help other people in times of need and crisis, and it’s as important that businesses support each other. Many local businesses been through tough times over the last two years, so help a brother (or sister) out and get amongst the local business community. Use local suppliers, purchase ingredients from local farmers, sell local products in-store, give local businesses a shout-out on social media, take the team out to the local café for lunch, network and offer help and advice…the ways businesses can support each other is endless but the impact of a positive, collaborative and supportive business community puts meals on our tables, keeps roofs over our heads and sends our kids to school.
At the end of the day, show kindness and support to those who need it most whenever and however you can. What goes around, comes around…
Barefruit was engaged to work with the local non-for-profit community radio station, BayFM as part of a pro bono project to help launch its new brand identity and new position as a digital platform.
The long-standing radio station, established in the early 90s, sounded the alarm bells as funds were reaching a record low in February last year. With the station, just weeks from closing the business identified the need to strengthen the brand and increase funding and that’s when Barefruit acquired the project.
The rebrand includes a black and white logo which was simplified to be more digitally friendly, flexible and to include the world-famous name ‘Byron’. The brand’s fonts, colours, and images were all created for today’s digital world. Their new website is now live bayfm.org and uses phrases such as ‘Listen like a local', ‘Tune In. Chill out. Sign Up’ which is very much in line with Byron Bay and its culture.
Bay FM is extremely happy that we helped without hesitation and without charge, giving the business more time and better service than we could have hoped for.
Pro Bono Marketing Support
Biala Support Services is a not-for-profit organisation that has been supporting people with a disability in the Ballina region for 50 years. They provide services for both children and adults with intellectual and physical disabilities. Evan, Barefruit's Head Harvester, is Chairman of the Biala board committee and for the last two years Barefruit has provided marketing services to Biala on a pro bono basis. In 2020, Barefruit provided 105 hours of pro bono work to the non-for-profit, excluding Evan’s Boardman duties. It's a pleasure knowing our work is supporting an organisation that makes such a positive impact in our community.
Barefruit was first briefed to refresh Biala's logo to make it more reflective of the charity's core values. After the refresh, the logo was rolled out across marketing collateral, including new business cards, letterheads, signage and annual reports. Barefruit also built a new website with the new branding.
Barefruit is first and foremost a full-service marketing agency, but one of our core values is giving back to our local community. And we like to do so whenever and however we can. We all live in the Northern Rivers, known for it’s stunning landscapes and beautiful beaches. We have subtropical hinterland that meets the ocean, untouched beaches and abundant rainforests that surround us. With such an amazing environment on our door step, at Barefruit we are passionate about doing everything we can to care for it.
Apart from our everyday eco-friendly habits, Barefruit recently donated 20 trees to Replant Byron! This is an initiative brought to life by Zero Emissions Byron. Replant Byron has committed to planting 1.8 million trees to create a community forest in the Byron Shire by 2025! What’s really cool, is that back in 2018, we worked with Zero Emissions Byron to develop the Replant Byron logo. This was back when the initiative was still in the works. Nat, our wonderful graphic designer, designed the logo on a pro bono basis.
In September, Replant Byron had a push to raise $10K of tree donations in two weeks. Amazingly, and thanks to the supportive community in which we live, they passed their goal, raising $15, 506. When the team at Barefruit heard about the fundraiser, we agreed that it was something Barefruit needed to be involved in. And so, we purchased 10 trees and donated them to Replant Byron. The Farm Byron Bay, has donated land for the community forest that Replant Byron is building, and during the fundraiser, The Farm was matching donations. So, we were able to contribute 20 trees to the community forest. What’s more, donators were invited to plant the trees they had donated on 19 September 2020. Evan and his son, Cian, were very eager to get their hands dirty, and went to plant our 20 trees at The Farm, on behalf of Barefuit.
In 2018, The Barefruit team watched a documentary called ‘A Plastic Ocean’, and it hit pretty hard. We were shocked and saddened by what we learned and deeply inspired to reverse the impact our society has made on our precious earth. As individuals, we all led lives with eco-friendly habits, but as an organisation, we weren’t taking much action. It was time to walk the walk. And so, the office set new rules, banning single-use-plastic and encouraging eco-friendly habits at work. These included carpooling to meetings, composting food scraps at work and taking crockery and cutlery to local cafés when getting lunch out. Staff who broke the rules paid penalties in the form of burpees. It’s great to say that the rules have worked very well.
After the initial shock of these new rules, which saw quite a few staff members getting their burpees on, it was only recently that we had some more culprits. Luke from NBN Group and Geoff from Westlawn Finance brought disposable coffee cups into the office for meetings last month. Little did they know they would be paying a price! I can say their burpee form has been approved by Evan, our very own exercise-fanatic.
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Last week we had another offender of the take-away coffee cup. Luke Campbell, NBN Group Sales Manager, kindly brought in coffee for a meeting with Claire and Evan… little did he know the consequences of having Single Use Plastic in the Barefruit office. Nice work Luke! ??
2018 was the year of change for Barefruit. We worked with Waste Warriors on their Reduce Single Use campaign to promote making sustainable choices at home and in work places. As part of their brief, we built a marketing strategy for the campaign and created a logo identity. This identity was rolled out on designs for promotional cut-outs, campaign collateral, a website landing page and print ads. The Ballina Shire Council heard about our project, and jumped on board with us, promoting the importance of the campaign. The result was 33 local business pledging to Reduce Single Use plastic in their workplaces.
One thing all our staff love about working for Barefruit is that we prioritise giving back to our local community. Our newest employee, Charlotte, says “Knowing that Barefruit Marketing is an organisation focused on helping local clients, doing our bit to care for the environment, and supporting charities feeds my conscience. It’s rare to find an agency with this value, especially in the Marketing and Advertising world. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”.