Artisan Spotlight: Nyota Jumpili

Nyota at Prosperity Candle 3Photo Courtesy of Prosperity Candle

We are so grateful for our partnership with Prosperity Candle in Massachusetts. The social enterprise supports fair wages and provides essential services to women who are building a brighter future in the United States after living for years as refugees. We had the opportunity to connect with Nyota Jumpili, a candle team member at Prosperity Candle. To learn more about her story, keep reading below. 

I have two brothers and four sisters, and I am the fourth-born. I live with my whole family in Northampton, Mass. We live with our mother, and our father died in 2004.

I grew up in a refugee camp in Burundi. At 5 years old, I went to school. We would walk for 30 minutes outside the refugee camp to get there. I liked studying English and biology, and I really like to read stories in French.

When I wasn’t in school, I had neighborhood children to play with. We often played a game called “horoh.” It was a game where we would throw a ball in the streets with three to four kids at a time. We made our own ball out of plastic bags that we would collect from the garbage.

When we arrived in Massachusetts, we didn’t have a house so we stayed in a hotel for one week. Catholic Charities found a house for us to rent. My brother was the first in our family to get a job with a carpenter. We all enrolled in English classes and eventually, after three months, I got a job with Prosperity Candle.

Sudi Jumapili (left) and Asmina Jumapili (far right) sit with their newly arrived family who are Congolese refugees from a camp in Burundi. The eight are from left to right, Zubeda Mwinibalu with her son Samir Mwinibalu (5 years old), Kashindi Mitamba, the mother and grandmother, Nyota Jumapili, holding Zubeda’s daughter, Saniya Jumapili, (1 year old), Mariam Jumapili, Fatuma Jumapili, and her daughter Yusra Jeanne DJumapili (7 months old). (Photo Courtesy of Prosperity Candle)

We are so thankful to work with you and your team at Prosperity Candle. How did you learn about the social enterprise?

I learned about Prosperity Candle through Catholic Charities. They help many refugees find work. Prosperity Candle reached out to Catholic Charities to find recently resettled refugees originally from the Congo.

We would love to learn more about your role at Prosperity Candle. What does an average day look like?

Each day can be a little different. Some days I start cleaning all of the candles that have been poured and cured. Some days we need to label candles that have already been cleaned.

Nyota at Prosperity Candle 2Photo Courtesy of Prosperity Candle

What do you love most about your work?

I like working with other people and learning from them.

What is your favorite part of the candle making process? Do you have a favorite fragrance?

My favorite part is labeling. My favorite fragrance is vanilla.

Nyota at Prosperity CandlePhoto Courtesy of Prosperity Candle

How has working with Prosperity Candle and The Little Market impacted your life and your family’s life?

It helps to pay rent and helps contribute to our family’s income.

We have heard that a dream of yours is to learn English! In addition to this, what are a few of your goals for yourself and your family?  

I want to be a nurse and help older people. I have spent a lot of time at home taking care of neighbors.

What is your favorite quote, book, television show, and/or song? 

I like watching YouTube shows in Swahili.

What are you most proud of, personally and professionally?

I am proud that I have hope for the future of my country.

A special thank you to Nyota, Victoria Gonzalez, Ted Barber, and the Prosperity Candle Team for your partnership and contributing to our interview series!

To shop our collection of candles, all hand-poured by incredible women like Nyota, visit our site

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *