Thanks to the support that we have received in response to the fundraising appeal, the 579 members of Maa Beadwork have resumed their work. So far we have raised $17,000 towards our target of $35,000 which would ensure that the ladies have income to support their families for the next 3 months.
In the Maasai Mara, all tourism activities have ceased, leading to mass unemployment, livestock markets are also closed preventing the Maasai pastoralists from selling livestock, and all activities at The Maa Trust closed down to adhere to government regulations. This resulted in a cash flow crisis for families, which is preventing them from being able to buy staple foods.
The women engaged in Maa Beadwork were amongst those affected by these lockdowns. At the end of April, we received a generous donation of $17,500 to provide emergency food supplies for these families, but relying on handouts is not a sustainable long term solution. When we were distributing the donated food, the one question that the ladies kept asking us was when can they get back to work. Nobody likes relying on handouts. They understood these extraordinary conditions, but the women really wanted to get back to earning their own income and supporting their families themselves.
It is from listening to their plea that we consulted with county officials who agreed that Maa Beadwork can restart production with the ladies, on condition that we follow social distancing guidelines, provide handwashing facilities and wear masks. Maa Beadwork staff resumed work at the end of May, and work started being distributed to the ladies in June.
In the absence of tourism, which is our main market for beadwork, the ladies are currently working on building up a stockpile for Maa Beadwork’s finished products. The stockpile will help Maa Beadwork so that rather than having to make each order when it comes in, orders can be released quickly, and we can make sure that our shop is always fully stocked. This stockpile will increase sales for the social enterprise, assist its sustainability, and increase income for our 579 beaders.
Now is 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. Earning this income will empower the ladies and increase their self-esteem.
We are therefore asking for your support to raise the remaining $18,000 needed to ensure that these ladies can continue to earn income, and support their own families, during this pandemic. We will pay the ladies on a monthly basis so that they have cash-in-hand to buy food, and during these difficult times we will match their earnings with supplementary food donations.
If you would like to support us in this endeavor, 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