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Namayiana is an informal cooperative of Maasai women artisans who create traditional Maasai beaded items. Namayiana means “We are blessed” in Maasai. When asked how long the Maasai have been doing beadwork they answer, “Since the first Maasai was born.” These Maasai artisans live about an hour from Nairobi in the Ngong Hills. Namayiana has provided many benefits to the more than 100 families involved. Income from craft sales has helped to provide food, clothing and school fees for the artisans’ families. The women work independently for Namayiana, both at home and at the workshop.
Namayiana was founded in 1990 when two Maasai handicraft groups merged. The group was initially sponsored by Mennonite Central Committee Kenya, and is now independent. Ten Thousand Villages has purchased products from Namayiana since 2001.