Meet The Artisans
Naisimara Lokorukoru - Star Beader, BeadWORKS
This is Naisimari, a Star Beader at BeadWORKS and one of the women who makes our beaded collars and leads. Aside from her own work, Naisimara is in charge of 72 beaders in the Ngtuk women’s group.
Naisimara's other name is superwoman. She is a mother of 4 whose day starts at 5am and typically ends at midnight. In between getting kids off to school, cooking meals, milking the cows and completing household chores, she fits in an average of eight hours beading a day. ‘With the income, my kids are comfortable and attend school. But it’s not all about the money. I’m able to use my skills, I feel smart. It’s about skill and production’.
Saranto Lekoloi, Star Beader, BeadWORKS
Saranto has been beading for 9 years, and what would take most of us several days to make, she can craft in just 3 hours. Saranto, a Samburu from Kalama is a mother of 6 and admits that life was tough before beading. 'Now I feel employed, I feel secure. I can buy food, clothes and send my children to school. I even opened a bank account to start saving' she says.
The members of the Women’s Group are very aware of their fortunate position. 'We sit under the tree doing our beadwork and think – ‘what can we do to help others?’ Business is doing well, so we are in a position to be able to lend money to those in need. It’s called a ‘merry-go-round’ where everyone contributes, and every few months its your turn to receive it'.
Mrs Aggie Kalota, Zambezi Joy Society
Aggie Kalota is a Seemstress Queen with a love for all fabrics bright and beautiful. Aggie lives and works in the small agricultural village of Malambo on the banks of the Zambezi River and is the driving force behind our dog bow ties, bandanas and blankets. Aggie’s hardworking, speedy and positive approach to her craft is always inspiring as she continues to branch out and try new and exciting designs at the drop of a Chitenge hat! In the remote village she calls home, Aggie has found a way to bring in an extra income for her family while attracting great attention and scattering joy with her daily Chitenge Cheer dresses!
Mrs Njapao, Zambezi Joy Society
Mrs Njapao lives in a small rural village on the banks of the Zambezi River in Zambia and has been making all kinds of gorgeous and vibrant items from Chitenge fabrics for us. With profits from the Zambezi Joy Society she has now been able to purchase an industrial, electric sewing machine, a much faster and more efficient alternative to her former Flying Dove machine that could only be powered by foot (this has been passed on to her husband!). Always with a warm smile and joyful enthusiasm, Mrs Njapao continues to create new designs, thereby empowering herself with her art and helping to support her family with the profits.