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Create Big Impacts By Shopping Small: The Maasai Widows Project

Nadia Breiz

   Fortune Emporium aims to be an advocate for meaningful purchasing.  Buying artisan goods supports creatives, builds community relationships, and circulates money within local economies. There is no better example of how shopping small can create big impacts than with the jewelry made by the ladies of the Maji Moto community in Kenya. Although these are very traditional pieces, they can be styled in such a way that they give an incredible modern edge to your wardrobe.

  The Maasai are an indigenous African ethnic group of semi-nomadic people located in Kenya and northern Tanzania.  In the Maasai culture, young women are often married to older men, increasing the likelihood of being widowed. In this culture women do not have a right to own (or inherit) any property, and teenage widows with children are often left behind when a husband dies, leaving them with no home or means to live. They are typically uneducated and unable to find work, leading to further poverty for themselves and their families.*

  In 2007 Enkiteng Lepa established a widows’ village on the grounds belonging to Salaton Ole Ntutu to address these issues. In the widows village, women can peacefully live and find ways to work. They currently earn income by caring for livestock, performing traditional singing and dancing for tourists, crafting and selling beadwork, and running a solar cell phone charging business for the many locals who use cell phones.*

  Fortune Emporium is proud to carry a selection of necklaces and bangles made by these incredible women. We were even honored with a visit from Chief Salaton himself! You'll most definitely standout in the crowd.  The best part is simply wearing such a piece opens the door for educating on the plight of the widows of the Maji Moto, making this a true meaningful purchase!

*Information & bottom photo courtesy

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