The Kenyan tourism industry is suffering because of the recent conflict. My friend Dustin is volunteering there for five months and noticed a unique need that has been created by this lack of tourism.
Many women help support their families by making and selling Maasai jewelry to tourists but because there are very few tourists, they have a very small market.
We thought we’d try to help out by providing an international market through internet sales. We’ve started an online site that showcases the beautiful Maasai beadwork and sells it to interested customers worldwide. We buy the pieces for a fair price, determined with the artisan and then ship them to Canada.
They are then photographed and put online to (hopefully) be purchased. We’ve only just begun and are starting out with a smaller number of pieces to see how they sell but we hope to eventually carry more selection if it’s successful.
Providing an international market makes the artisans less dependent on their country’s political stability to be able to make a living. The ultimate goal is to have the Kenyan artisans run the website independently and ship out of their own country.