Active, African, African American, Artist, Contemporary, Jewelry

Billie Johnstone

 Unbuntu is an African word for the African Ethic of relating to one another focusing on kindness, compassion and goodness with each other.  

Billie has a history of working with children and their families as a school social worker and a clinical social work practitioner. She lives in Tacoma, Washington.

After retirement, Billie returned to South Africa, finding the lives of children there overwhelmingly horrific.  She pledged financial support to an orphanage and youth program in Soweto, South Africa to benefit these children. She also gives support to local youth scholarship programs in the Tacoma Area.

Since childhood, sparked by a passion for colored gemstones, sparkly crystals and glass, she was inspired to develop her business of handcrafted jewelry as a means to support the orphanage. Billielephant Designs are one of a kind jewelry pieces that are changing lives. Often inspired by natural surroundings, the designs are made of gemstones, semi-precious stones, Swarovski Crystals, hand blown glass and other natural materials with gold and silver plated components.

About the Soweto Orphanage and Youth Program:

Soweto Kliptown Youth (SKY) is an organization that provides hope and services to some of the most neglected children in South Africa.

The conditions in Kliptown and other impoverished communities include:

  • very limited access or no access to health care
  • lack of infrastructure (many homes lack electricity and plumbing)
  • limited or no access to schools, clinics or libraries (youth have few opportunities for basic or higher education.)
  • unemployment is extremely high

Yet there is a wealth of hope and spirit. The Kliptown Youth Program is a caring community for the future of these children and is affecting these needs very positively.

Proceeds from Billie’s sales are donated to SKY and Tacoma, Washington Area non- profit youth organizations.