Artisan Spotlight: Meet Nyota

Interview with artisan candle-maker Nyota. Gifts and candles that give back to women refugees.

Eight months ago we met Nyota and learned of her dreams of studying English and thriving beside her family. Every week in the studio, we see her wonderful resilience and strength as she pursues her goals. We are happy she is here!

Nyota was born in a small village in the Congo, and her family was forced to flee their home when she was only 6 years old to escape escalating violence. Growing up in a refugee camp in Burundi, Nyota and her loved ones were eventually offered the opportunity to resettle to the United States. She received her very first paycheck in October 2018, helping to support her family through candle-making.

Today Nyota shares a home with her mother, two brothers and three sisters. Every candle she gift wraps and labels shines a light on how far she has come and the new beginnings she is paving with her loved ones. Here is a glimpse into her life!

1. Nyota, can you tell us a little about your family?

I live with my whole family in Northampton, MA. I am the middle child, the fourth oldest in my family. I was born in a small village called Ovira in the Congo. I lived in Ovira for 7 years with my mom, two brothers and three sisters. I grew up in a refugee camp in Burundi. 

2. Are there any happy memories you want to share from when you were a kid?

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 played a game called horoh. It was a game where we would throw a ball in the streets with three or four kids at a time. We made our own ball out of plastic bags that we would collect from the garbage. 

3. Can you describe what relocating to the United States was like?

I moved to the United States in July with my family in the plane. It was my first plane ride ever. 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.

4. Which parts of candle-making do you enjoy most? 

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. My favorite part is labeling. This is my first job in the U.S. I like working with other people and learning from them.

5. Do you have a favorite scent?

My favorite fragrance is vanilla!

6. What kind of things do you do when you’re not at work?

I like to cook food from my home, like rice and fish. I tried pizza. It was very nice! I also tried ice cream and I really like vanilla.

7. Do you have a favorite TV show or movie you like to watch?

I watch anything, like American movies like Jack the Giant Slayer or dramas. I like watching YouTube shows in Swahili and I like listening to my country’s music. They are called Roomba. 

8. Do you have any dreams or hopes? 

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

Artisan candle-maker Nyota and her loved ones after resettling to the U.S. from a refugee camp in Burundi

If you enjoyed hearing Nyota's story send her a warm message below welcoming her and her loved ones to the United States, or share her story with a friend!

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Related Posts

Artisan Spotlight: Meet Sui
Artisan Spotlight: Meet Sui
It has been just 10 weeks since Sui stepped through our studio doors for the first time, and already we can't imagine...
Read More
Artist Collaborations: Meet Tandem Ceramics
Artist Collaborations: Meet Tandem Ceramics
When we first met Justine and Grant at an art festival a year ago, there was an immediate connection. Beyond their be...
Read More
Artisan Spotlight: Meet Sai Aye
Artisan Spotlight: Meet Sai Aye
Four years ago we met Sai Aye and her wonderful smile... so broad and generous that you can't help but smile along wi...
Read More
like what you see?
Fragrance Guide

Unique soy blend fair trade candles handcrafted by women artisans candles at Prosperity Candle

Amber & Bergamot

Warm and inviting, amber and bergamot combined with subtle notes of geranium, black cardamom, sandalwood and eucalyptus.

Clementine & Lavender

A bright, fresh citrus scent of clementine, tangerine, bergamot and lemon… nicely balanced with French lavender. If you love citrus with a subtle twist, this is for you.

Desert Cactus & Rose

Deep and earthy, warm oakmoss is infused with light rose petals, water lilies and geranium, with a touch of musk and clove bud to inspire thoughtfulness and rest. 

Fig & Citrus

Clean and slightly sweet, fresh figs infused with grapefruit, a hint of orange, and lemon zest atop an earthy base of cedar and oakmoss. Wonderfully nuanced, it’s our favorite fig scent.

French Vanilla & Oak

Sweet, familiar and deeply comforting, French vanilla combined with oak, sandalwood, grapefruit and sea salt with a hint of clove. A unique take on a classic.

Ginger & Verbena

Fresh ginger mingles with grapefruit and lemon for a bright and refreshing citrus that energizes in a surprisingly soothing way. A wonderfully balanced fragrance that evokes peaceful spring mornings.

Jasmine & Peony Suede 

Delightfully sweet with a floral twist, blossoming peonies mix with jasmine, red apple, rose and gentle suede giving rise to a joyous scent for any occasion.

Orange Blossom & Waterlily

Fragrant orange blossoms mingle with water lily, iris and clementine leaves above a base note of vetiver. This is a delightfully elegant, soft floral.

Sea Salt & Lotus 

There is nothing like a fresh ocean breeze... clean and buoyant ocean air with a joyful blend of freesia, water lilies, lotus and tuberose offers a truly uplifting ambiance.


Completely fragrance-free.
Perfect for centerpieces, dinner candles and those who prefer no scent.

Looking for a past favorite?

We probably have it! If you don't see the one you're looking for, send us an email and we'll custom pour it for you.
Save Save Save
Inspire Your Inbox!
Liquid error: Could not find asset snippets/modify_lightbox_snippet.liquid