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Interviews with our Maasai Beadwork Artisans in Kenya

April 21, 2021 4 min read

Straight from the source. Interviews with our beading partners at Hadithi Crafts - Wildlife Works in Kenya: Rehema and Sinyati 

 

Rehema Makane 

Introductions

My name is Rehema Makane. I come from Makina in a village called Oldonyo. I am the Chairlady of Nasirian women group which deals with making bracelets and ornamentals. I am also married and a mother of two children. 

Have you seen changes in seasonal weather patterns that have affected your life and how you make a livelihood?

I have seen changes in seasonal weather patterns because it is incredibly hot with the lack of rain and water. As the Maasai community, our tradition is rearing cattle, and the lack of water has made it impossible because there is hardly any pasture. Our children are also forced to stay at home because of the blazing sun.

How have you had to change your life to adapt to those changes?  

Previously, Maasai women were not allowed to work or look for food. We were also not allowed to educate our children but thanks to these hard times, Maasai women are now the bread winners and also educating and taking care of their children. 

What do you, your family, your community need to improve your ability to better adapt and thrive to changes and the conditions around you?

We would feel secure about our children’s future if we had a borehole dug in our community because our main challenge is water. This will enable us to have drinking water for ourselves, our cattle as well as turn it into an economic activity to start planting crops and selling them. We would also feel secure if we had a market center where we can sell our beaded jewelry. This will improve our lives because if someone wanted to buy our products, they would come straight to the center.

What is the impact of making bracelets with Love is Project and Hadithi at Wildlife Works had on your life?

Previously, we didn’t have any source of income because we were jobless. At the moment our situation has changed and when we make the bracelets, the money from it can be used to pay school fees for our children.

How many family members do you financially support? 

I am the breadwinner and I financially support 6 family members. They consist of my 2 children, 3 in-laws, a grandmother and my husband.

 

Sinyati Kiringoli 

Introductions

My name is Sinyati Kiringoli, I come from Miasenyi area and am the Chairlady of Nalebo site group which is in charge of making beaded jewelry.  I am married and a mother to 8 children.

Have you seen changes in seasonal weather patterns that have affected your life and how you make a livelihood?

I have seen a lot of changes in seasonal weather patterns and the most evident is the rise in temperatures. Our livestock have been affected the most because there is no pasture and water. Previously, we traditionally relied heavily on cows as the source of food for our children as well as income and the change in weather patterns has made it impossible to rear livestock or even sell them.

How have you had to change your life to adapt to those changes?

Previously, Maasai women were traditionally not allowed to go to work, and we were confined to our homesteads. The situation has now changed, and we can now look for work or perform menial jobs and then come back home with food to feed the family. Nowadays our children don’t go without food because we have introduced ourselves to different income generating activities.

What do you, your family, your community need to improve your ability to better adapt and thrive to changes and the conditions around you?

What we need to thrive is have a borehole dug which will provide water for us and our livestock. This will also give us an opportunity to venture into farming and sell our crops as we spend a lot of time going to look for water. A source of water will address this problem because we wouldn’t have to suffer looking for this precious commodity. Also, as the Maasai community, we would love for our children to be empowered with education to prevent most of our young girls from getting married at a very young age. Most women are against it and pushing for our girls to be educated but the men are against this idea. We believe that a good education will help improve our lives.

What is the impact of making bracelets with Love is Project & Hadithi at Wildlife Works had on your life?

The impact of making bracelets with Love Is Project & Hadithi is huge because we are able to meet our daily needs. Our children are no longer struggling and can go to school. Previously, we were making the bracelets for our own use, but now we can make and sell them.

How many family members do you financially support? 

In my family the people depending on me are my 8 children, my husband, and my 2 nephews who are orphaned.


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