In 2017, Macy was connected to BeadWORKS Kenya, as they were in search of expanding their product line to leather/beaded work. She spent the month of February in Kenya teaching a series of intensive workshops to the production team at the office on Lewa Wildlife Conservation.
The first round of products included; dog collars, belts, hat bands, tassel key chains and small bags. She returned in January of 2018 to add more products to the line; a tote bag, bucket bag, iPad case, laptop case, and clutch.
The new beaded leather product line that Macy helped implement, has ignited a whole new realm of possibilities for BeadWORKS. They have been able to expand their customer base from gift shops and zoo’s to high end boutiques across Africa, Australia, Europe, and the US. The production staff at BeadWORKS HQ have gained a whole new set of leather crafting skills, and with an increase demand of products, BeadWORKS is hoping to employ more beaders.
The coolest part about BeadWORKS: it allows the indigenous women an opportunity to earn income, while retaining their semi-nomadic lifestyle, obligations at home, and involvement in their communities. BeadWORKS employs over 1350 women from 9 different communities. Some of which are Maa, Massai, Samburu, Turkana, Rendille and Borana. The ladies do not come in to work, but our crew delivers all materials, and collects all finished beadwork products. The communities can be up to a 5 hour drive off road! The women are paid per completed piece, so it is on their time when they want/can work or not.
More money to the women empowers them and contributes to family income. Diversifying family income reduces the need to poach animals, puts more kids in school, and allows less women making charcoal for extra cash. More kids in school leads to a better educated upcoming generation, who will understand driving force of tourist industry and the importance of land and wildlife conservation
I am so thankful to be a part of this community. To be able to share my knowledge and passion. To be immersed in a totally different world, creating friendships and connections with people that would have never walked into my life otherwise. To hear their stories, and to tell mine. To help empower women, to help teach the hard work necessary to earn a reliable income, and to bring light to land and wildlife conservation amongst the communities.
To read more about BeadWORKS Kenya, visit their site here.
To read more about my experience in Kenya, check out my blog!