Gertrude Kitia from Tanzania, United Republic Of

is the artisan in the spotlight this week

Artisan Gertrude Kitia

Handicrafts have been Gertrude Kitia's passion for as long as she can remember. This interest, coupled with a strong determination to help struggling women survive, led Gertrude to teach ancient Masai beading techniques to local women in Tanzania. Eventually, Gertrude formed a women's cooperative with the aim of helping women in her community who needed employment.

Despite the challenges of its remote location, limited transportation and non-existent government aid, the cooperative has managed to thrive because of Gertrude's tenacity. She not only provides women with trade skills and technique, she also promises fair wages and working conditions for the women, a situation which is fairly uncommon in Tanzania. The cooperative is also environmentally focused and uses recycled and natural resources in all of their designs. Gertrude's cooperative not only provides a better living for women through sales of their designs, it has also successfully preserved traditional beading techniques and patterns of the Masai people.

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