Story excerpt from Me to We Artisans…… Under the iconic acacia trees of Kenya’s Maasai Mara, a group of women, known as Maasai Mammas, practice their ancient craft of beading, which has now become a livelihood. As proud business leaders, these women are the backbone of their communities, promoting sustainable growth and supporting their families with the support of Me to We Artisans.
The story behind Me to We Artisans
Me to We Artisans is a line of original accessories, handcrafted by artisans in Free The Children communities across the globe.
Founder Roxanne Joyal was inspired to create Me to We Artisans in 2010 after witnessing talented Massai beaders who travelled daily to small tourist markets flooded with competing products and were forced to sell their intricate beadwork at a loss.
Women employed through Me to We Artisans are paid a fair wage for their work, often earning two to three times more than before. The women are provided with financial literacy and leadership training throughout the year. The confidence and skills women gain through Me to We Artisans empowers them to play a greater role in community-wide initiatives such as education projects and kitchen gardens. Me to We Artisans works in Kenya, with projects expanding to India and Ecuador.
The impact of Me to We Artisans
Today, Me to We Artisans employs more than 812 Maasai mamas full-time, providing them with an alternative source of income so they can pursue their dreams and support their families and communities. By joining Me to We Artisans, each woman is empowered to build her savings and do things she never would have believed possible: improve her home, support her family, send her children to school, and believe that her skills and her voice have value. Infusing a centuries-old beading tradition with modern elements designed by Roxanne Joyal, the collections share the artistry of Maasai culture with the world.
I can send my children to school, put a tin roof over my house or start a garden. I can say with my head held high that I am an empowered woman because of the Artisans program.