Oja means "glow" or "vitality" in Hindu culture.
As co-founder of the New York City/Kathmandu based nonprofit organization, Kids of Kathmandu, I formed Oja Moon as a way to encourage local enterprise and contribute towards communities in Nepal. Each Oja Moon sale generates funds towards Kids of Kathmandu initiatives which focus on children and education. Kids of Kathmandu began in 2010 with a commitment to fund education, food, and medical for 49 children at an orphanage in Bhaktapur. That project was funded for 10 years, covering 280,000 meals and 450 private school tuitions. Kids of Kathmandu is currently rebuilding schools in response to the 2015 earthquake and as of 2020 we opened our 8th school, our first made of rammed earth making it our greenest school to date.
All products are designed in New York City with my partner Charlotte Guess. Each piece is handmade at a Women's Center in Nepal. Each animal takes 2 days to make by hand. Each blanket takes 2 weeks. Not only does each purchase at Oja Moon generate funds for our schools, but it helps to employ the women at this Center who lack financial security, many struggling to send their children to school and many who are widows, needing income to provide for their family.
Our team travels to Nepal yearly, to check in with both our on the ground projects and the women's center. Anyone is welcome to come with us on these visits. It is an incredibly special place.
Our animals have been tested and approved by the Consumer Product Safety Commission identification #1361.
FOUNDER, CREATIVE DIRECTOR
Jami Saunders is a New York based photographer, specializing in children and families. She is also the Co-Founder of Kids of Kathmandu, a New York based non profit that has been supporting education for Nepali children since 2010.
During her annual travels to Nepal, she was introduced to a non profit women's center producing beautifully knit pieces. She realized she could commission unique pieces to use in her newborn photo shoots back in New York. Taking it further, she could create a company around these pieces that bring joy to those who purchase Oja Moon products, benefit the women's center of knitters, and gives back to the children of Nepal.
Originally from England, Charlotte started her career in women’s wear where she worked for iconic style legends such as Lulu Guinness and Cynthia Rowley. She then found a love of designing children's clothes while working with Lucy Sykes and her children's brand ‘Lucy Sykes Baby’. From there she moved on to Baby Togs working on their private label’s for clients such as Nicole Miller, O’Neill, Dr Seuss, Kmart & Sears.
Freelancing now, Charlotte helps companies large and small with getting the right look, fit and feel of their brand such as Under the Nile, Jelly the Pug and Nested Bean.
Oja Moon is a very special project to be a part of and Charlotte finds joy seeing the animals come to life and collaborating with long time friend Jami Saunders.