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Community of tribal Masai Women

"As women we didn't own anything; all the cattle and goats belonged to men. If we wanted to give a gift to a friend, or buy a treat for the children, we had to beg the money from our husbands. Establishing our Mama Masai group has helped us move forward. The beads have given us a voice. With this money we have been able to improve our houses; even buy goats, books, clothes and medicines for our children."

Mama Masai is the name given to a network of 15 women groups enabling over 150 women to improve their lives. Untouched by tourism and infrastructure, the Simanjaro district in Tanzania is home to these women, where they make beaded craft-ware, and earn their own money for the first time in the history of their community. Each woman is paid a fair price for everything she makes. 

The Mama Masai initiative was founded in 2000 when a woman named Joy Stephens visited Simanjaro with her husband who was volunteering there after a series of notorious droughts which almost crippled the existence of this tribal community. Joy knew the village needed a new approach to survive.

Photo courtesy of Mama Masai

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