We have recently paid a total of Kshs.3.1M to the 579 beadwork women as their labour payments for the period ending in September. The ladies also received a food package as a supplement to the earnings. The Package consisted of 6 kg maize flour, a packet of tea leaves, a kg of sugar, and a block of bar soap. The idea behind supplementing cash payments with this food parcel is to ensure that the women can spend their income in ways to benefit their family beyond immediate food needs. This is especially important as children start returning to school.
“Maa Beadwork programme has been very helpful during the COVID-19 period. They have supplied us with food which has helped to sustain our families. We pray for The Maa Trust to stand strong and continue supporting the community. Today we’ve been paid and also given food. I will use the money to build myself a house, buy a water storage tank, and pay school fees for my children when they will be going back to school.” Paranae Tome, Maa Beadwork Member.
Beadwork payments this year are significantly down on previous years. This reflects how Maa Beadwork has been negatively affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The ladies are paid according to the products each works on, but orders have been significantly lower because of the absence of tourism and closure of camps.
“I had plans to buy a water tank with the earnings I will receive, but COVID-19 has disrupted this plan as I have not earned enough. It is my prayer that things will change in the future and I will be able to buy one. The money I have received I will use to pay school fees for my child who will be joining class eight next year.” Maa Beadwork Member.
The closure of The Maa Trust in March meant that the women engaged in Maa Beadwork and the other social enterprises were no longer getting any work or income, exacerbating deepening household poverty. In April, Sidekick Foundation generously donated $ 17,500 for emergency food relief, which was distributed to 677 families engaged in Maa Beadwork, Maa Honey, or our scholarship programme.
When we were distributing the food, the one question that the ladies kept asking us, is when they can get back to work. In response to this plea, we consulted with Assistant County Commissioner, Narok West and we were delighted that they agreed that Maa Beadwork could restart production with the ladies in June, on condition that we follow social distancing guidelines and wear masks. As our main beadwork market, tourism, has been decimated by the virus, we have very few orders to be released for the ladies to make. We, therefore, launched a fundraising appeal to get the ladies back to work creating a stockpile for Maa Beadwork so that rather than having to make each order when it is placed, orders can be released quickly, and we can make sure that our shop is always fully stocked. This stockpile will increase total sales for the social enterprise, assist its sustainability, and increase income for our 579 beaders. Lockdown has been the ideal time to do this. The ladies are desperate for work to support their families, and they have a lot of free time with the children home from school and able to help with herding and household chores. Through this initial fundraising appeal (Click here to watch the appeal video), we were able to raise $17,000. Without these donations, the payments to the ladies would be much lower. They are extremely grateful for this support.
The money raised through the first appeal is now exhausted, and so we are launching phase two to provide ongoing support to Maa Beadwork social enterprise through this extremely difficult time. Money donated will support the core operational Maa Beadwork team, sales diversification to increase the focus on international wholesale and designer partnerships as well as keeping the 579 women and families who are dependent on Maa Beadwork earning an income.
If you would like to support Maa Beadwork in this appeal, please follow the links below to donate.
For UK Gift Aid donations
The Maa Trust Charitable Foundation: justgiving.com/maatrust
For USA 501(c)3 and international donations
Sidekick Foundation: sidekickfoundation.org/donate/
Please select The Maa Trust from the dropdown menu