The Maasai Shuka, worn by the popular Maasai community, is a household must. The garment has gained popularity not only among this East African community but has also inspired fashion products seen on international runways.
Among those behind this cultural blanket are a group of women in Kenya’s Kitale town who are making huge profits while promoting its use.
This business has helped me raise my children, pay school fees and meet other needs.
“We have decided to discourage people from importing textiles. We have discovered that we are capable of producing the blankets ourselves so that we can sell them locally and internationally because we have a permit from the national and county government,” said the founder of the project, Gertrude Nalianya.
The group was started in 2009 with the aim of helping members supplement their income. The weavers make the checked fabrics, sell them and the profits gained assist them in the challenges they face in their daily livelihoods.
The founder also added: “I can pay rent for the premises; I can pay rent for the house. I can also pay school fees and I also do help the less privileged women to support them, and also the orphaned children who are home-based.”
Faced with the challenge of cheaper versions on the local market, the Ujirani Mwema community project however wants to counter this and are confident in the production and sale of the Shuka both locally and internationally.