what we do

h.o.w? is a non-profit ministry based in Cape Girardeau, Missouri, committed to improving the quality of life for African women and children living in extreme poverty. Many of them are also dealing with health challenges from disease, HIV/AIDS and malnutrition. We help women learn crafts to support themselves and pay for their children’s or grandchildren’s food, clothing and education. We also support children's institutions in the region.

What's New: We launched the first-of-its-kind h.o.w? Women's Conference for our widows in January. We're taking applications now for our next trip, scheduled for May 30-June 13, 2015. This trip includes a safari on the world famous Maasai Mara National Reserve.

While our participants work hard to fund their trips, we are always in need of additional donations.

You can help:
donate now!

where we go


who we are

photo of michelle photo of Julia and Family photo of keziah

h.o.w?'s president is Michelle Outman, of Cape Girardeau, Missouri. Adoptive mother to twin boys from Ethiopia, she knows first hand the enormity of the orphan crisis in Africa. Having spent months working in the African countries of Ethiopia, Kenya, and Swaziland, she has seen the injustice and desperation women and children face because of inequality and oppression. Michelle has dedicated her life to empowering women and children through faith and service to God and each other, entrepreneurship and education.

Our Kenya coordinator, Keziah Murugi Kariuki, is the bridge and glue that connects the USA and Kenya ministry. She oversees and coordinates the h.o.w? jewelry ministry, our projects with partnering children's homes and visiting mission teams from the USA. Keziah provides our widows physical, emotional and spiritual support.

Our headquarters in Cape Girardeau is a visual tapestry of African artistry and crafts, and the perfect place for your group or organization to become familiar with the h.o.w? Ministry (by appointment only - contact us). Watch our latest video about our mission in Kenya then browse our colorful shop filled with hand-beaded bracelets, necklaces and earrings, hand-woven scarves, baskets and bowls, purses and T-shirts, keychains and ornaments, wall decorations and more.

shop online or contact us if you see something you like
or if you would like to make an appointment
- this site is new, and we will be adding more products soon! - 

latest news

Join us May 3 for an Afternoon of Hope
Join Us May 3 for an Afternoon of Hope

Please join us in welcoming our special guest David Kariuki from Nairobi, Kenya, who will share his life’s journey from street boy to beloved son, college graduate, husband, father, and social worker at a reception from 2-3:30pm on Sunday, May 3, 2015, at Codefi, 339 Broadway in downtown Cape Girardeau.

Join our Zumbathon March 31 to help kids with autism

The 3rd annual Zumbathon fundraiser to support the Jacaranda Special School is scheduled for Tuesday, March 31, from 6:30-8:30 pm at Southeast Missouri State University’s Rec Center basketball courts. Tickets are just $5 and on sale now or at the door. Bring friends, get a team together, win prizes and help support a great cause!

Teresia in front of one of her new windows
update: windows for Teresia’s home, fabric for our tailors

Keziah recently visited the h.o.w? Jewelry widows in Kinangop to photograph newly installed windows we provided for Teresia’s home. She also presented fabric to our tailors, Jane, Cecilia and Mary, and photographed a new woven basket Julia is working on. We think they all look wonderful, and we can’t wait to see what they make next!

Learn about h.o.w? in our newest video

Learn more about h.o.w? Ministry, why we do what we do, how you can get involved, who we serve and what you can look forward to if you choose to join us on a short-term mission trip to Kenya.

The 2015 conference participants at Panorama Park.
‘our best trip ever’

The 2-week mission we completed in January was “our best trip ever,” h.o.w? Ministry President Michelle Outman said, because we were able to get to know the widows more in 4 days than the past 4 years largely due to the new women’s conference and our shared experiences there. Here’s a summary of our activities.

‘We have changed, all of us.’

Today the widows learned how to crochet roses for hats they plan to begin making for h.o.w? Jewelry, made more self-portrait watercolors, and received Christmas donations, cards and photos from their sponsors in the U.S. Mission participants unloaded several suitcases full of donated scarves, skirts, shoes and other clothing for the widows and their families. […]

Consider these women empowered!

At the h.o.w? Jewelry headquarters in rural Kinangop, Kenya, members of the h.o.w? widows shared what they had learned at our two-day Arise Women’s Conference, presented gifts and a poem of thanks, and then posed for some Polaroid photos they could take home to remind them of the dreams they envisioned there.

Arise Conference Day 2

The second day of the Arise Women’s Conference at Lake Naivasha included a session designed to help those who are HIV positive learn how to take care of themselves physically and spiritually, a discussion of the h.o.w? vision, some selfies and photo fun by the pool, and a field trip to the Kenya Agricultural and […]

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jewelry with purpose

h.o.w? comes alongside women living in poverty and invests in their lives by providing job opportunities, creating awareness and uniting women in Africa with women in North America. Currently based out of Kenya, h.o.w? jewelry has 30 women making jewelry and other crafts. They are widows living with HIV/AIDS or caring for children orphaned by HIV/AIDS. h.o.w? and a team of volunteers travel to Kenya twice a year to deliver donations, visit the widows and projects, and provide support.

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Scenes from Kenya - June 2014

you can make a difference, too

h.o.w? jewelry and crafts are purchased at fair market value so that the women doing the work immediately receive funds. The crafts are resold in the U.S. to further support specific projects in their region that benefit women and children.

You can help, too, by purchasing crafts, making a donation, hosting a trunk show, or by applying to travel with us on our next mission trip.

go with us


Our question is “Why not?” We passionately believe that one by one we each have the ability to make a difference in our world. We believe that those with resources, skills and financial capabilities should reinvest in the lives of others. One by one we can come alongside these women in Africa to offer job opportunities and emotional support. Many of our women face desperate situations just to survive and before h.o.w? had been living on less than $1/day.

meet the widows

One of the greatest opportunities we can offer our widows is the creation of employment opportunities with predictable and sustainable income. Each of the 30 h.o.w? widows has been empowered with the means to help provide for their family's basic needs: nutritious meals, shelter, and an education.

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fighting poverty

Poverty is a vicious enemy and destroys people’s lives both physically and emotionally. Those who bear the heaviest weight of poverty are women and children. This is why we focus on women in hopes that by empowering a woman and giving her an income and confidence, we can save children. And by empowering women and saving children we can begin to fight poverty.