Maa Beadwork is a social enterprise facilitated by The Maa Trust, based in the Maasai Mara, Kenya. We are a collective of 430 women, each from a different family across fifteen villages. Together, through the art pieces we create and are now able to sell, we are able to support over 8000 people in our communities, and the impact of Maa Beadwork on our lives has been remarkable.
Maa Beadwork began in 2013 as a solution to two issues:
Firstly, high end camps and lodges wished to buy and sell local produce to their guests, but it was hard for them to source beadwork fairly, and also to guarantee consistently high quality.
Secondly, Maasai women wanted desperately to earn an income through their beadwork, but lacked access to tourist markets or fine materials.
The Maa Trust initiated Maa Beadwork so that women could, for the first time, help to financially support their families and achieve their self-identified goals to improve quality of life and make a meaningful difference at home.
To establish this project in a fair way, The Maa Trust requested the help and advise of elected village elders from the initial communities we were looking to start with. The Trust explained the concept and proposal to the elders, who were extremely supportive, and their guidance in how to select beadwork members was the foundation for the success and popularity of Maa Beadwork. Each family put forward their best beader, and also identified which women were most in need of the opportunity to support their families, with preference given to widows and single mothers. After a trail to gauge their skills and strengths, the women are given commissions to bead the items they are best at and enjoy making the most.
Beadwork has been the art form of our tribe for thousands of years. Originally we worked with bone, wood and seeds to create jewellery and practical items for our homes. But when foreign travellers came to Kenya, colourful glass beads became highly valued in our society and traded as currency. Today, Maasai are globally famous for our bright and colourful adornment.
We are excited to share our creations and designs with the world, and we hope that you will find items that you love in our collections. We have taken influence from our authentic tribal designs to create new lines of jewellery, homeware and accessories that will bring a blaze of colour to your house and wardrobe. Also available, for more understated tastes, we bring to you combinations of tones that epitomize safari chic.