ANTASSIA – BESPOKE MAASAI BEADED DESIGNS
“MAN HAS WORN BEADS SINCE TIME BEGAN, IN RITUALS AND CEREMONIES, FOR BEAUTIFICATION, TALISMANIC PROPERTIES OR HEALING, AS A SYMBOL OF WEALTH & TO DENOTE STATUS.”
In 2008 antassia bead project was formed by antonia stogdale in partnership with the mokogodo maasai women in northern kenya.
The philosophies behind antassia are to preserve the maasai way of life by harnessing the beading skills of the women and to create a sustainable income for the women and their families.
The key challenge was to develop fashionable & wearable designs, which retained a traditional maasai look.
An array of bespoke beaded bags, belts, cuffs, bracelets are now being created. As well as practical, functional items for the home, such as beaded placemats, coasters, jewelry boxes, candles holders.
The maasai ladies are invaluable at home and have many time consuming,
Arduous duties, therefore, there is limited opportunity or time for employment to generate income.
This project enables them to work from home, which means that their traditional role as a maasai wife is not disrupted or compromised. It also means they are independent and can choose what they put their income towards: food for their family, education for their children.
Antonia had a meeting with the chief and elders of the community to ask permission for the project to expand. The chief and elders agreed and are delighted that more income is generated through the project for their families.
The focus now is on designing and creating solidly beaded clutch bags. Each bag is one of a kind, designed by antonia and made by one of the maasai ladies.
The bags are extremely intricate and involve an enormous amount of work. Each bag takes two weeks to make dependent on the time each lady has, after her other duties. Each lady is paid for the pieces she makes, this is determined by weight: a bag weighing 40g = $40.
Bags are also traded for solar lights and mobile phones the proceeds from the sales of the bags go towards buying more materials and reinvesting in the partnership.
Antassia empowers overs 100 women in northern kenya and gives them sustainable livelihoods. It offers the choice of education for the next generation. The hope is to offer education through school as well as education and access to family planning through supporting the borana mobile clinic.
The future goal is to upscale the project and offer opportunity through employment to more women. The aim is to expand the project into other areas of kenya and east africa. Antonia, through her connection with ker & downey safaris, has established a good relationship with the women of amboseli in the kitirua conservancy. This will be the next area for the antassia project to expand.
To upscale and expand we need to ensure a more consistent supply of materials and beads to the women and to form partnerships with ethical fashion artisan brands and outlets outside of kenya.
The project is committed to creating high quality beaded products through sustainable employment not charity, to improve the lives of the women
And their families.
“Since we are part of the project our lives have improved. We can now decide what we do with our money. We buy food for the family, and we can send our children to school.”
In purchasing an antassia product you are directly supporting the maasai women of kenya.
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If you would like to buy a bag or order any of the other Antassia products, please go to the contacts page, once your have placed an order you can pay via PayPal.