Those that know me well know that I have an obsession with jewelry, I just love it. So I figured what is better than jewelry? Jewelry that is made and sold for a good cause. I am now a proud owner of jewelry from the Leakey Collection, a collection that is designed to help The Maasai women, a pastoral group of people that live in the magnificent Great Rift Valley of Kenya and Tanzania
The story of the Leakey Collection is an inspiring one. In 2001 the Maasai livelihood disappeared due to a drought and then death of their cattle. The Maasai men had to drive the few remaining cattle hundreds of miles away to search for better grazing and it became evident that the women desperately needed a way to obtain medical supplies, and to feed, clothe, and educate their children. Philip and Katy Leakey, who live among the Maasai wanted to help their neighbors and to provide work opportunities without changing their culture. They came up with an imaginative idea that would utilize the excellent beading abilities of the Maasai women, and it used grass, an available sustainable resource, as the primary element.
The long grass, called Zulugrass, was dried and cut into bead-size pieces and dyed lovely colors, which were then strung into necklaces and bracelets. The Leakey’s added brilliant Czech glass beads to their designs, giving sparkle and a contemporary flair to the jewelry. All materials used by The Leakey Collection are environmentally sustainable. According to statistics from the Leakey Collection they produced a non-factory setting in Kenya’s bush, created over 1,200 jobs and over 10,000 people are supported by the work generated from assembling Zulugrass and other Leakey Collection products.
The Leakey Collection product line includes not just jewelry but also interior/home accessories, gifts and women’s fashion accessories. The collection provides economic opportunity while protecting the environment.
I wore my Leakey Collection jewelry to work and the girls loved it. A few of the girls already knew about the line because they had purchased the jewelry at a local boutique. The collection not only helps the Maasi but also the local retailers in our community. It’s a beautiful line with an even better cause.