Traditionally in Maasai culture, women are expected to stay home and take care of their family rather than attend school and obtain jobs. This lack of education is a major hindrance to both social and economic development in the Maasai community. While it is slowly becoming more accepted for women to attend school, older generations still have no means of obtaining formal jobs and earning an income.
Recently, many Maasai women have created co-op groups where they meet and implement various income-generating projects. The Maasai are very talented with beads. They are taught from a young age to create their traditional clothing which is embellished with thousands of beads. In addition to traditional clothing, these groups create an array of beaded products ranging from simple beaded jewelry to elaborately designed, beautiful belts and sandals. Their meticulous work is done with great care and these high quality products have yet to be successfully replicated elsewhere.
The particular women’s group this project is supporting is located in Trans-Mara, Kenya and is comprised of eight women, the majority of whom are widows. The group came to be in 2006 when Lilly Tasur recognized the need for these widows to secure an income, as they previously had none and had families to support. Through the formation of the group and sales of their products they hope to generate enough money to be able to provide for their families. The work of these talented women, including jewelry, belts, sandals and even dog collars, is viewable and is for sale on the Maasai Products page of this site. All of their products are one-of-a-kind, hand crafted works of art.