Women's handcraft producers welcomed to the UK

Shared Interest customer Namayiana has visited the UK to talk about the work they do.

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Namayiana are a Masaai women's handcraft producer group based in the Ngong area of Kenya. Patterns in their beautiful, traditional beadwork tell a story about a person's life. The group began over 20 years ago. For the most part, the women could not read or write, but wished to use the skills they had to care for their children and the community around them. Starting with just 16 members, they have grown their membership to 112.

 

Shared Interest Society is supporting them in this journey by providing much-needed finance to bring their beadwork to customers around the world.

 

This month, two of the ladies from the group visited us in the UK to talk about their work. Nouason ene Marona, Chairperson of Namayiana and Catherine Kasao Mututua, Namayiana Project Manager arrived in Newcastle on March 9 to spend time with the Shared Interest team. Nouason and Catherine had a packed schedule including school visits, a jewellery exhibition, presentations to staff and ambassadors and a presentation to members at our AGM March 14.

 

"We had a fantastic time in the UK. It was great to meet our investors and tell them what wonderful people they are and what wonderful work they are doing for us."

Nouason ene Marona, Chairperson of Namayiana

 

The ladies started their visit off with a trip to Hillview Infant School in Sunderland where they met with 120 children. The children enjoyed our film about Namayiana and listened to the women's story of a typical day and life in Kenya. 

 

Next was a visit to Central Newcastle High School. This visit was the joint initiative of Central Newcastle High and Shared Interest where Year 10 pupils had produced jewellery designs which the women made. Children aged 8-16 years at the school watched our film and heard about the Masaai culture. Nouason and Catherine demonstrated making jewellery and offered their jewellery for sale.

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During their stay the ladies also gave a talk to Shared Interest staff and ambassadors, thanking them for their support and offering their products for sale. In total over £1,000 was made from the sale of the beadwork.  

 

Nouason said: "We are thankful for all the staff, volunteers, ambassadors and investors at Shared Interest, without them our business would not be doing so well."