The Stone House Project in collaboration with Naboisho Jewellery aims to support the Maasai women of Kajiado, Kenya to a help build a Stone House.
Naboisho pronounced 'Nah-bo-ee-shoo' in Maa means 'together' or 'togetherness' and that is what we aim to do by creating a collection of authentic Maasai handmade jewellery made by the Maasai women of Kajiado, Kenya.
Why the Stone House Project?
In 2016 I took my first practical steps towards pursuing my passions by tackling the injustices experienced by women and girls... I took a literal ‘leap’ or more accurately a ‘jump’ out of a plane to help raise much needed funds to support women and girls experiencing sexual exploitation in Brazil through a charity called ICWN (International Christian Women's Network).
Later, I begun to work within the charitable sector at various organisations which finally lead me to where I am today, having the honour of working on the front-line providing support to abused and vulnerable women, a desire of mine which had been side lined for many years.
In November 2018 a multi-talented friend, Afriye Donkor of Tamu Beauty, a Skincare Formulator and Business Consultant who is equally passionate about helping vulnerable women, boldly went on a mission to Kenya to host skincare workshops with a group of Maasai women as part of her soap making initiative.
Afriye returned and shared about the Maasai women of Kajiado Kenya, where she met and spent time listening to their stories and experiences. A particular story was that of a widow, Joyce, a mother of two young children. Being a widow she was unable to care for her children, so members of the Kajiado community who run an orphanage took them in. Within the Maasai culture if a woman is widowed she is left with no income or protector for her or her children. Living in a traditional mud house means that any other Maasai man in the tribe can place their spear outside her hut, claim her as theirs and be with her without marriage, and not provide for her or her children. Because of this, Joyce experienced this very predicament which resulted in Joyce being left with another child who also had to be looked after by the orphanage.
In sharing her story, Afriye spoke of a small glimmer of hope for Joyce; she explained that within the Maasai culture. Maasai men are forbidden to claim a widowed woman if she lives in a non-traditional stone house. Therefore, if Joyce or other widowed women in the community lived in stone houses they would be protected from being exploited in this way.
This happens to many women in their community and hearing this story left me perplexed and wanting to do something to help Joyce and her present situation. No woman should have to suffer in this way and I saw a way I could help.
The Stone House Project
I saw the injustice and plight of Joyce's situation, she like other widows are left in hopeless situations, with few opportunities to change their circumstance. Though the children are cared for at the orphanage, they too struggle to provide for the children.
Building a stone house in a community which inherently demonstrates Naboisho"togetherness" will be part of what I aim to achieve when I join Afriye on her next mission to Kajiado in September 2019.
The Stone House Project is a fundraising campaign to help Joyce, and other women in the future build a Stone House so they can be protected from further exploitation. The project will also aid in helping to improve the social and economic empowerment of Joyce and the women in her community.
Maasai Mud HutA Stone House
The Maasai women of Kajiado are amazing craftswomen and have been making traditional Maasai jewellery for centuries, selling them at the local markets to support themselves. As part of the Stone House Project, Naboisho Jewellery will be working in partnership with the Kajiado women to help them get a fair price for their amazing craft whilst showcasing their beautiful workmanship. Sales from the Jewellery will contribute to the building of a stone house for Joyce and women in need.
The estimated cost of the build is approximately 2.5m Kenyan Shillings that is about £20, 000 to build a stone house and as a widow with little to no income or support it is virtually impossible for Joyce or others to build the house themselves. This project will give them all the opportunity to contribute to supporting themselves by making the accessories for Naboisho Jewellery.
What The Stone House Project aims to achieve...
* Help the Maasai women build a Stone House for Joyce, her children and other women in the same position as her.
* Establish Naboisho Jewellery as a contemporary accessories business to showcase their craft to a wider international community, assisting them to receive a fair price for their workmanship
* Empower women to use their skills and talents to create other businesses to improve their social and economic opportunities (see below missions)
The beauty of Joyce's story is that, although it is not unique, it is the solidarity of the women within the community, coming together to support one another, the best they can. The women already have a solution to Joyce's needs that honours their cultural beliefs -They simply need a helping hand in bringing it all together.
In supporting the Stone House Project you are joining ‘together’ with a community of women protecting themselves and their children from future exploitation, whilst empowering them to alleviate their poverty.
Phase 1 - Raise funds for the mission trip to Kenya and confirm foundations to build stone house and jewellery business
Phase 2 - Launch Naboisho Jewellery
Phase 3 - Purchase materials for first stage of build i.e lay foundations
Phase 4 - Finish building Joyce's Stone House
The Mission for 2019
As a Christian of 15 years, I've always wanted to go on a mission trip and put my faith in action. The collaboration of The Stone House Project and Tamu Beauty Soap Making Initiative finally gives me the chance to combine my passions.
The mission trip is from the 11th - 20th September 2019 where myself and 3 other women will be joining Afriye on her return to Kajiado, Kenya, where we will be expanding on the soap making workshops.
We are planning to:
1. Host natural soap making workshops with 60+ Maasai women to help them build a sustainable business enterprise.
2. Meet with Joyce and work through the costs for building the Stone House
3.Visit and take donations to the orphanage in Busia, Kenya
4.Help women to identify other skills and talents that will help them in generating income
5. Learn how to make traditional Maasai Jewellery and create designs for Naboisho Jewellery
Will you join us?!
Naboisho in Maa means'together'or'togetherness'and is the name of the jewellery brand the project will create. We want you to partner with us so that we can build a Stone House for Joyce and hopefully other women like her, or at least give them a helping hand in doing so.
Your donations go a long way!:
£7 buys jewellery making tools (wire, needle and thread) for 1 woman
£16 buys 1Kg of colourful beads
£30 buys a wooden soap mould
£53 buys 4 3L heat resistant measuring Jug
£1,000 Oil Press Machine
All your donations go a long way, it may not seem like much but everything contributes in helping us achieve the goal of building the Stone House for Joyce and others like her.
If you are unable to donate financially, I would kindly ask you to share the Stone House Project
Crowdfunding page and hashtag #thestonehouse and promote by sharing the Naboisho Jewellery business @naboisho_Jewellery.
For a limited time only – until 11th September - free gifts will be given to those who donate on our Crowdfunding page. You will also be kept up to date with the developments of the Stone House Project, we hope to launch a website and be selling at local craft markets later this year, so do stay in touch.
Whatever your contribution or donation to the project, we are grateful and look forward to having you on this journey with us.
x~x Ashe (Thank You) x~x