Wild Hope Artisan Project is a joint effort between Julia Veenstra and Tammy Russell of Wild Hope Ministries in Tanzania and Kenya. The project aims to develop a self sustaining handicraft business for Maasai women artisans. These skilled beaders create products of outstanding quality and appeal using handmade glass beads and trade beads of Africa. Purchase of these items support the women’s micro-industry, their families and their communities. The ladies live in Kenya and Tanzania and are working and ministering good news to their people. This project generates much needed income to purchase food and basic needs.

The project began with six women artisans.  Since it’s inception the project now involves over seventy ladies.  The original six have become the trainers and have been teaching product creation and handling quality control as well as continuing to produce beautiful items. It has been very exciting to see the initiative grow with such leaps and bounds!

Reports of goat and cow purchases and school fees paid are just some of the wonderful news we are hearing from the women.

Here is an excerpt from a newsletter update on the project:

In January, Byron and Peter (Russell) traveled out to the areas where the Maasai women of our Artisan Project live and work.  The purpose of their trip was to assess how the project is impacting the women, their families, extended families and communities.  For several days they spoke with the individual women as well as locals and community leaders.  They are very pleased to report that the project is running beautifully and we are so proud of the choices these women are making.

The 8 original artisans are training and employing about 85 more women.  They are also hiring other local women to help with the work at home (carrying water, collecting fire wood etc) and the blessing of income is greatly appreciated in the community.  Byron loved hearing the stories of how the project has brought transformation from desperate poverty to a viable life.  He gets very emotional about these things and he started crying as one of the women explained that before the project she owned only one old donkey.  Now she has goats and even a cow and some of the goats have given birth.

Translation: not only is she able to feed the family, she has money in the bank now too.  Other women spoke of buying several cows, constructing an iron sheet house and having blocks made to build with!

Please pray for wisdom as the project expands.

Reach Julia at Julia@juliaveenstra.com

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