Two weeks ago I traveled to a few of the Maasai communities in Ngong Hills and spent a wonderful day with the women who still master the century old tradition of crafting ornaments from coloured beads.
The Maasai is a semi nomadic tribe living in southern Kenya and northern Tanzania, where they still to a large extent maintain their traditional life style, and the artefacts produced by the women are highly valued in Kenya and around the world. Their craft has a huge international market potential, but it is hard for them to find appropriate export channels.
This is where an NGO named CTC International is coming to their assistance. I was accompanied on this trip by CTC’s Executive Director, Zane Wilemon, who explained me the concept of the project he is now launching in the framework of LIFE Line – his long standing cooperation with hundreds of women in the communities. LIFE Line started in 2008 with a small group of mothers (Mums) in Kenya, shunned by society because they had children with special needs.
I was impressed to discover how empowered the women have become through the support they have received through LIFE Line. By learning how to sew, they have increased the income for their families, have raised the standard of living in the communities and are able to send their children to school.
Most importantly, they have grown to become leaders of change. And encouraged by this success… The #loveisproject was born!
Chrissie Lam, founder of The Supply Change, ( a company focused on building relationships between the design industry and global artisan communities) designed the bracelet with the Maasai in April 2013 and spent the summer of 2014 traveling the globe with her bracelet, inspired to ask friends and strangers alike what love meant to them. The same women in cooperation with The Supply Change, The core of this initiative is the production of the so called LOVE Bracelet and its international marketing.
This was one of the best experiences I have had in a while, the ladies have their little factories under the tress, happily chatting and crafting these pieces with love. Such positive vibes!
The LOVE Bracelet is made by LIFE Line’s Maasai mums in their traditional beadwork, creating sustainable income and empowering them to provide for their families. Beaded with red to represent bravery, strength, and unity among the Maasai, the LOVE Bracelet connects the maker and the wearer around the world with a common purpose.
Through the channels established, the beautiful traditional beaded artefacts produced by the women, based on century old designs.
I loved meeting the beautiful Maasai women and am excited to be part of this great initiative in their support, by sharing a little of its background with you here on the blog.
This festive season grab a hand-made LOVE bracelet! Support and empower the entrepreneurial spirit of these lovely women.
In the meantime remember to #loveisproject on twitter and instagram and share what love is to you. Let’s spread the message of love this holiday season!!
Love and more Love