SupaMaasai which translates to “Hello Maasai” is a foundation based in Kenya, and our hometown - Toronto, ON. Supa Maasai is a young and passionate foundation less than 10 years old. They strive to improve the standard of living of the Maasai community, especially women and youth. By focusing on education and entrepreneurship they promote freedom, the ability to choose your own future and destiny. This amazing organization was founded by Teriano Lesancha, the first University graduate from her village of Loodariak, Kenya.
SupaMaasai creates and distributes Maasai beadwork directly to customers around the world. Authentic, fair trade and fair wage. The products range from jewellery, to clothing and other works of art. Proceeds go directly to a Loodariak women’s co-operative, empowering them to become self-sufficient and better provide for their families, while giving back to the community. Maasai beadwork has been an established craft since the 1850′s. Made from materials brought over by European traders the Maasai created unique beaded items that have become a signature of their culture.
One of our Founders used to work for this great organization! She was brought on as an intern to help with the beadwork project. About one year later with support of Supa Maasai and Ryerson University she was working directly with the talented women of Loodariak, Kenya on her personal Fair Trade Beadwork dreams.
The SupaMaasai model guarantees equitable returns for the women of Loodariak. They provide the women with fair wages and direct access to the market. . Land is available for the Maasai women to build workshops where they can create their products as well as have access literacy services and social support. Supa Maasai Is not certified Fair Trade, but they do follow Fair Trade Standards.
On top of the Beadwork Project Supa Maasai has many other programs implemented in Kenyan Maasai communities.
The Ekiteng Fund, also know as the Youth Scholarship Fund is a unique educational scholarship fund that revolves around the backbone of the Maasai community, the cow. Not only do cows nourish families, they are sold for an additional source of income. This fund began with community elders donating their cows to the fund. Supa Maasai and their supporters match the donation value. The cows are then sold and that money as well as the donation match go directly to paying school fees for community youth.