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.

Different women…different cultures….different continents….same beauty !

Revlon’s chief creative officer  Linda Wells spent a day in Mkuru together  with some of the Maasai  women leaders. It has been a fascinating and dynamic exchange of ideas, knowledge and information about the  fashion and beauty  world in their respective lives. A quite different  scenario for a change and a very mesmerizing  learning experience  for  everybody. Thank you Linda for your open, curious and generous mind !

Leather leather ….Maasai leather !

Maasai Women Art has recently widened its horizons in partnership with NGO Oikos for a EU and USAID funded project that teaches Maasai comminities the art of leather tanning and the production of high quality leather products. The future collection of bags and accessories will be again the creation of an intentionally recognized Italian fashion designer Marina Spadafora who is know for her many year endeavor and commitment to the fair-trade aspect  of the fashion world….”ethic is esthetic”.



TED Global..

We are  really proud and  excited to have been  selected among other organizations to  be  part of the Artisan Market at the TED Global international conference https:tedglobal2017.ted.com/?tedtg in  Arusha from  the 27th to the 30 of August ! What an amazing opportunity and exposure !



This year Tanzania Maasai Women’s art has decided to become more involved with the education of our children.
The International School Moshi Arusha provides a wide veriety of after school classes for its students to enable them to gain unique skills offered by the community.
Tanzania Maasai Women’s Art has created a class which teaches both the beading techniques and the history of Maasai culture.

We hope to inspire the next generation so that they might pass the knowledge to others around the world.

Not just jewelry…
Newsletter January 2017

….Time has slipped away again…and we are in 2017 ! We have been thrilled to have achieved and been able to celebrate the 10th year anniversary of the organization in 2016, amid challenges and opportunities and a great many supporters and friends!
10th Anniversary collection… For our special birthday occasion Francesca Torri Soldini and her students at IED (Istituto Europeo di Design ) in Milan created a brand new and beautiful range of innovative Maasai jewelry. The new collection differs quite a lot from the previous ones. There is a big variety of shapes, colors and dynamism to make sure it can attract every woman’s taste, age and style, and it truly has ! We were very fortunate, again, to have Francesca here with us for a couple of weeks to help the Maasai women better understand and produce the new designs. As usual it was a great pleasure to enjoy her enthusiasm, her humor and her patience to say nothing of taking advantage of her skills.

The retail shop in Arusha…In March as local retail business seemed to have finally picked up, we expanded and rented another space at Sable Square creating a workshop and office area where the women could spend more time working under the guidance of Francesca , Mama Eva and Tati. Unfortunately the positive trend did not last and we decided to close the retail shop and merge the shop, workshop and office in a smaller space.Flexibility is our motto!

Our Margaret…decided after many years it was time for her to take a break and get some rest…..we can’t blame her…it takes a lot of energy to work in this field. She is still passing by sometime to say ‘Hi’ which is very nice . Rose Emanueli has taken her position and it is a pleasure to have her on board.

The local market

we’d like to say a huge thank you to our ever loyal resident market, and we love to see the MWA constantly being worn around Tanzania, especially when we see designs from the past 10 years adorning all these wonderful people. Despite this we had more of a focus and made more an effort, this past year, with the international marketplace. The international market..North America and Canada continue to be undoubtly our major selling point. LotusLand Imports www.lotuslandimports.com is the unique distributor for Canada and has now taken over the West Side of the USA. Thanks to Susan Bibbings the jewelry has been on the catwalk again at Eco Fashion Week 2016( www.ecofashion-week.com) in Seattle, WA, United States !

Katherine Benoit kjbenoit@gmail.com has become our exclusive representative on the East territory of the United States. The jewelry are now available for purchase at Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit Michigan and Niagara Universtity Castellani Art Museum in Niagara Falls NY !

Italy is still represented by Cetacea Service www.cetaceaservice.com who is participating again at the end of this month at HOMI international fair in Milan . The Fair is mainly dedicated to retailer and attracts customers from all over the world.
Kathy Drogemuller www.paracombewines.com/community/maasai-womens-art in Australia is not only producing and selling some of the best wine in the country but supports community projects as well. Maasai Women Art jewelry can be bought at her cellar door !…

The rest of the European market and UK are also reopening which is very positive and encouraging.

Not just jewelry…

over the last few months Oikos East Africa has supported a new project that trains Maasai people to process and tan their leather. A totally organic tannery and a leather workshop have been built in Mkuru. Local young residents have been trained in tanning and cutting leather creating a new business opportunity and subsequent economic growth for the community in the area. With the help of the ‘fundi’ and trainer Gabriel Mollel and the designs of Cheka Bearcroft we have been able to launch a nice first collection of leather bags at the Arusha Christmas Fair. We are still at the very beginning of this new venture and a lot of serious work is needed. Pole pole….(slowly slowly….)..

Recycle recycle….

a bag with some history…and why not combine old safari camps canvas with beautiful organic leather? Some nice backpacks, computer bags and wallets have been created out of used bits and pieces of bush tents. They are wonderful pieces to own and cherish, as well as to wonder at the sights and scenes they have taken in over the years in the Tanzanian wildlife parks.

Development …thanks to Unite The World For Africa Foundation we have started a 2 year Health Training program for the Maasai women in Mkuru.

The women’s boma has been uplifted and one of the 3 building units is now a proper medical room where Dr. Gideon who is in charge of the project can carry on medical screening when necessary and teach the women about the importance of fundamental health knowledge. The women are enthusiast and eager to learn more and seem incredibly appreciative of this opportunity.

Tanzania Maasai Women Art is financially self-sustained. However any further support is very helpful. If you want to make a donation or somehow contribute to the development activities please contact us at the following address: info@maasaiwomneart.org


The festive season is just around the corner!!!

As the Christmas season approaches TMWA has been preparing a collection of treats to exhibit. As some of you know we have recently released a new collection of jewellery which we have been working hard at over the last year and now ready to release for the local market.

Along with the Jewellery we have been working on a few other projects which we are very exited to introduce to Arusha . Information on the new leather project will be displayed at the fair on the 19th and 20th November.




Message for the Mums and Dads!!!
At this year’s Arusha Christmas fair we will be offering a beading workshop for your little ones.
Give yourself an hour to shop and mingle while the teeny tots enjoy some time together making Xmas presents for their loved ones.

Price is 10,000 for one hour with our top fundi Mama Eva who will assist and teach them Maasai beading techniques.
The children will be supervised at all times by either Cheka, Tati or rose.

Workshops will run every hour from 10:30 to 3:30

For 8 yrs and up

See you all soon X 🙂





Over the last few months Tanzania Maasai Women’s art has been working towards launching a brand new idea. Together with Oykos , Maasai Women’s art have encouraged and supported the local community of Mkuru, Arusha through many different mediums.

In the last year Oykos has approved the building of a Tannery and leather workshop in Mkuru which has enabled local hyde sellers to create business opportunities and therefore economic growth for the Maasai living in the area.

The tannery has also lifted job opportunities for young men and women who are welcomed into the workshop and taught specific leather work and leather beading skills from Arusha’s Top Leather Fundi.
With the help of our Trainer Gabriel Mollel and Cheka Bearcoft our designer and Leather work manager we have been able to reach out and find new mediums to introduce to Maasai Women’s Art.

We hope to see you all at the Christmas fair on the 19th and 20th November.
If you have any questions about buying hyde / leather please feel free to contact us.


SALE SALE SALE !!!! 30% OFF – Early Xmas sale

TMWA is running an early Christmas sale at Sable square . We will be selling all vintage collection items at 30% off .

Pop in and have a nosey about and pick up gifts for your loved ones this Xmas.


Museum Showcase of Tanzania Maasai Women’s Art

Tanzania Maasai Women’s Art -“Not Just Jewelry” is available for purchase at the Charles H Wright Museum of African American History in Detroit Michigan!

museum-1 museum-2

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