Serving a Higher Purpose through Design
With Sharon Baluku
Photo by Vaunn Yevo
Sharon Baluku, founder and lead designer for Baluku Designs, has found purpose using jewelry and interior design to better the lives of females living in Uganda, the country of her birth. At 16, she came to Los Angeles by a circuitous 11-year route through Sweden. An interior designer, Sharon began creating furnishings, such as pillows, and sold them at local farmers markets. She expanded her interiors creations to one-of-a-kind jewelry design. All Baluku Designs’ creations have a natural, Ugandan, or Scandinavian influence, a nod to Sharon’s history. Environmentally friendly, natural materials such as brass, sterling silver, wood, stone, and anything unusually earthy are used in the designs. “I allow the materials to inspire my creations,” she says.
Each month she contributes a portion of her proceeds to further the education of two young Ugandan girls, ages 8 and 10. “My mother helped scout for recipients through her contacts in Uganda,” she says, “and I send the money directly to the school…I want to eventually build a school in Uganda.”
She was fortunate to not have been left behind in a life where the education and contribution of women is discouraged. ““I feel very lucky to have my life…I always knew that I wanted to give back.”