Jewel of an Idea

As the director of global enterprise for jewelry-making business Sasa Designs, Megan MacDonald ’02 helps hearing-impaired women in Kenya join the global marketplace.

This story appeared in the winter 2014 issue of
Chapman Magazine.

picture of a woman
A safari to Kenya as a child and a resolute spirit of global citizenship fostered at Chapman University have led Megan MacDonald ’02 to achieve success with Sasa Designs by the Deaf, a jewelry-making business that employs hearing-impaired women in Kenya.

As the director of global enterprise for Sasa Designs, MacDonald navigates two cultures that are very different from her own: Kenyan culture and deaf culture.

“Working for Sasa Designs has been the hardest, most rewarding experience of my life,” MacDonald says.

MacDonald splits her time between the production studio in Nairobi and marketing and operations sites in the U.S., helping a dozen Kenyan deaf women — who throughout their lives being told they are broken and worthless — discover a sense of pride and achievement by producing a global jewelry line. They are no longer defined by their deafness.

“Giving them the opportunity to be a part of the global market — educating them on ethical production, labor practices and fair wages — this is how we honor those in need,” said MacDonald. “It is anything but a quaint jewelry-making business. We are part of boundary-breaking business development.”

To learn more about the artists and where to shop for Sasa Designs jewelry, visit

Ryan Hines

Ryan is the public relations coordinator at Chapman University. He's passionate about finding and sharing the most compelling #ChapmanStories.

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