Our latest and greatest Figue Find? Hand-beaded cups made by women of the Samburu Tribe in Northern Kenya. The Samburu have a long tradition of beading and their matriarchs (the "Mamas" as they call themselves) are skilled sewers. The color, type and pattern of their beading forms a "language," telling a story about the woman her home, her family and her relationships. Buying these pieces means supporting Samburu women — the income they receive enables them to be more financially independent and to provide food and support for their families. We love how the beading history of this tribe manifests in a beautiful product with modern use, bridging countries and helping Samburu women thrive.
The beading program is made possible by the Samburu Trust, a nonprofit committed to the preservation and support of Samburu people — an ancient pastoral group at risk of disappearing. The Trust's inside-out approach engages the tribe to come up with long-term sustainable solutions, rather than implementing unilateral external ideas and expecting them to work in a distinctive culture. Their programs include education, healthcare, water solutions, wildlife and, of course, beading. Even if you've never been to Kenya, these cups connect you to this unique culture and help support its preservation.