2019! …..where has time gone ……what happened?

We had so much going on in 2018 that we were hardly able to keep up with it….!
2018 could not be described as easy but it was extremely exciting and altogether was a good mix of both positive events and challenges. 
NEW NEW NEW NEWS….It’s leather time…..!.In February 2018 TMWA started producing leather bags and accessories with natural and organically tanned Maasai leather. The project was initiated by Oikos’s TERRA programme, funded by the Italian Agency For Development Cooperation and in collaboration with Marina Spadafora, the ethical fashion designer, and the historic Tuscan tannery, Newport, in Florence, Italy.
Once more….we can say it’s “not just jewelry” but another totally new venture and adventure.

Mr. Mbaga the ‘fundi’

In the last 6 months the rhythm of work, the confidence of the artisans and the quality of the products have moved in leaps and bounds and a wonderful collection of bags, purses, bracelets and much more are now available.

Our team consists of trainer Charles Mbaga, trainee Mariam Daudi Mollel, beading expert Mama Jackie and Stephano Samuel and all of them are eager to learn, to contribute to new ideas and fill the workshop with a million stories. It is a vibrant, friendly and enthusiastic small team and a real value addition to TMWA.

Love small pouch

AND THE JEWELRY ? …Sales in 2018 were good. Our International market has grown by three additional territories: an exclusive distributor in UK; Helen Erhabor- James (Dafa-Agency), in Portugal with Moskkito and most recently in Hungary with Ibolya Tomory.

Bead by bead……

North America still represents our largest market with many thanks to Lotus Land Imports for Canada and the West USA, and Katherine Benoit covering all the East area.
TMWA jewelry can now be admired and bought in many American Art Museums shops which does justice to the amazing work, history and skill that every Maasai woman puts in each piece of their ART!

funika chocker

Look for our pieces at the following attractions:

Detroit Museum of Art, DIA, Detroit, Michigan -Ringing Museum of Art, Sarasota, Florida -Cleveland Museum of Art, Cleveland, Ohio – Mint Museum, Charlotte, North Carolina – Blanton Museum of Art, Austin, Texas – High Museum, Atlanta, Georgia -Baltimore Museum of Art, Baltimore, Maryland – Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburg, PennsylvaniaThe -Gallery at Chautauqua, Lake Chautauqua, New York (Seasonal) – Gibbs Museum of Art, Charleston, South Carolina – Henry B. Plant Museum, Tampa, Florida – Castellani Museum of Art, Lewiston, New YorkCharles H Wright Museum of African American History, Detroit, Michigan and very soon NSU Art Museum, Ft. Lauderdale, Florida.
On the local front, our retail shop at Sable Square Arusha, Kahawa Shop at Elewana Arusha, Cultural Heritage Arusha, Legendary Coffe Lodge Arusha, Manyara Galleria in Karatu and many lodges and camps all over Tanzania and on Zanzibar Island all hugely contribute to the success of MWA and make sure visitors don’t leave without a beautiful piece of jewelry or soft leather bag to remind them about their fabulous trip.
COLLECTION 2019…This year we will be working on a new collection that will combine beaded jewelry and our Maasai organically tanned leather! 2019 will be a special and different year, and exciting for sure!

COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT…. Above and beyond the beads, jewelry and leather….MWA works hard together with the communities that we partner with to improve the benefits that they receive and to help to support the many families that are an integral part of what we do. Our main focus in 2018 has been the health training program supported by Anne Wells with Unite Africa Foundation. In 2017 Dr. Gideon assisted by the strong and charismatic Mama Martha worked with the “”traditional midwives” to help them learn and understand some basic yet crucial aspects that can save the life of mothers and newborn babies. Last year the training focused on the young generation of women, targeting topics related to reproductive and sexual health aspects .

The young women then requested that we include courses for the men as well to make sure that what they learned could be then applied. Despite our initial skepticism that we could never be able to get the interest of the young Maasai men, we were very positively surprised by the response and the regular attendance of a core group of men who showed a real interest and who asked to continue with a second session this year!

Young Maasai man looking at contraceptive pills…….

Dr. Gideon and Martha teaching

As MWA we both see and feel the success of our hard work in 2018. We are together, we are both integrated and united with all those who are a part and parcel of us, and despite our small size, we somehow, in our focus area have a massive impact.
Together the artisans, designers, health workers, book keepers, buyers and sellers have covered a long distance, and we still want to go further….POLE POLE (slowly slowly) as we say in Kiswahili, and THANK YOU.

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