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Traditional handicrafts made by the Maasai Widows Project chosen for exhibition at Santa Fe Folk Art Market

Maasai Widow's Project

Deeper Africa offered seed money to the Maasai Widow’s Group so they could exhibit their traditional beadwork at the Santa Fe International Folk Art Market. This is micro-finance participating in the big leagues. Meeri Tuya, one of the women from the Widows’ Group was vetted by the market selection committee and her expenses from Nairobi paid by the Santa Fe Folk Art Market. She was one of only 96 artists from around the world exhibiting at the world renowned Folk Art Market. The Market is in its eleventh year.

Meeri traveled to the United States from Kenya in July of 2014 and offered craft items, made by the widows in her group, for sale. The widows bought beads in Kenya with the money donated by Deeper Africa, supplied the labor, and sold over 1000 jewelry items on the weekend of the market. The money made a big difference in the lives of the widows and their children.

  

Meeri was married as the fifth wife to an 80 year old Kenyan Maasai man. He died soon after their marriage leaving her with a baby girl.  Maasai widows are not allowed to remarry and do not have the right to own or inherit property. They become homeless. After being shunned by her own father, Meeri made the decision to walk to the Widow’s Village, and ask to be taken in. Meeri lives safely under the protection of Chief Ole Ntutu on traditional Maasai land near Maji Moto, Kenya. Chief Ole Ntutu is a progressive, forward looking elder. The chief accompanied Meeri to the Santa Fe Market.

Deeper Africa guests can spend a day of their safari with the widows and Chief Ole Ntutu enjoying their company and learning to make traditional Maasai jewelry.   

The Maasai Women’s Project was featured in the Santa Fe New Mexican. Click below to read the article.

Santa Fe New Mexica article

To learn more about the Santa Fe Art Market watch this Martha Stewart video.