Enabling women to support their families by selling crafts
Each product has a tag with the name and picture of the artisan, also the meaning of her name. In the Maasai culture during a wedding a lady is given a new name by her husband’s age group.
The Maasai from the Loita Hills still live a rather traditional living. Though they are traditionally nomadic, modern state boundaries and land demarcation in other areas have now confined them to stationary living. This, together with the new development of compulsory education for children, have brought many challenges to a change aversive culture. Together with change also comes new opportunities.
Maasai ladies, who would’ve married at a very young age, now sometimes have the opportunity to complete Secondary School and possibly even pursue a career. Otherwise, the lady of the house (who can also be a second, third or fourth wife to one husband) is responsible for the tasks of living – fetching and carrying water from a stream (up to 5 km far), chopping or collecting and carrying of firewood, cooking, doing laundry, overseeing livestock, planting and tending to the vegetable garden and the bearing and rearing of children. Living in these conditions is hard labour.
Never the less, Maasai women wear their conditions with dignity, supporting one another wherever they can. They love to laugh and tell stories while they drink sweet milky tea. They wear colourful cloths, two wrapped around their body and a third covering their shoulders. They walk tall and graciously, with the reddish cloth flowing in the wind. Maasai women have great skills in beadwork and loves colour. They wear their beadwork with pride, and is very seldom seen without numerous necklaces and earrings – clinging a joyful noise. Cash flow is a significant challenge, since they are subsistence farmers and cash is often primarily available when selling livestock. Ladies have to ask their husband for cash for anything from food to children’s school fees, as well as their own needs.
Selling crafts provide women with the opportunity and dignity of earning and managing her own cash.
We believe these ladies have great potential, both in creating artwork and in running a business. Each one determine the price of her product, as well as the design, with advice from management. When a product is sold, they pay a small commission of 10 % to Walking with Maasai for the service of selling their products. Ladies has the opportunity to buy raw materials in bulk through Walking with Maasai and then dividing it at cost price between themselves.
Selling price $ 10
- commission - $1
- Cost price of raw products - $0,30
= Profit artisan takes home = $8,70
The Artisans have named the Craft Shop “Mayian” which means “blessing”. It is a Blessing for them to be able to sell their crafts and earn an income. They also hope to be a blessing to others as they provide beauty and creativity to others.
As we grow our business, the ladies will grow their skills in product development, costing and marketing. Together they do their own quality control on the products. As their income increases through this shop, we will start with Financial Literacy training (budgeting, saving etc.) to help them manage this increased income effectively. From there we will continue with business training, aiming to help them start and run their own businesses.