Selling beautiful beads to survive
The Maasai ladies who work for MAF partner RedTribe use traditional skills to make beautiful earrings and necklaces.
They gather under a big tree to make their jewellery, talking as they thread colourful beads onto lengths of wire and thread. The brightly coloured beads have special meaning in .
A lady called Koko has been making jewellery the longest. Life had been hard for her since her husband died, and she struggled to have enough money for food. Making jewellery to sell gives Koko the money she needs to survive.
Hennie and Becca Marais, a couple from England, started RedTribe Beadwork because they wanted to help Koko – and other ladies who’d lost their husbands – by giving them jobs. The jewellery is popular, and everyone wants to buy it. A few years ago, a new workshop was built to give the ladies space to make even more lovely necklaces and bracelets.
The name RedTribe comes from the Maasai people of Kenya. They are called the ‘red’ tribe because of the distinctive red fabrics they wear. Red is a special colour, meaning bravery and strength, which is fitting, because the ladies have overcome very hard things in their lives and are very brave and strong.
In recent years, MAF has helped re-open Enairebuk airstrip after 17 years. It’s much closer to the RedTribe projects and is far safer for MAF pilots to take-off and land. ‘We can now fly volunteers in and out, which means I can spend more time on projects and less time driving people to Nairobi!’ says Hennie, giving thanks for MAF.