Peter.Irungu

Commissioned By AMSHA Studios

"Most women are farmers. For many years, weaving was just an "activity", some side work they did to earn some money. Then when the droughts came, weaving became critical in order to have food. Now women are coming to the center daily to drop off baskets and get assignments to make more." -Magdarena Mutanu, Yatta South Women's Group.

This collective is made up of 30 weaving groups, with more than 500 active weavers. Due to droughts in recent years, the women heavily rely on weaving as their main source of income. Empowering women in business in Kenya provides opportunity for economic independence in a country where women are still on an upward climb toward gender equality. Every woman deserves to have a seat at the table, and when women have dignified work and are economically empowered, their voices are heard.

With each small groups having monthly targets the women partner with their neighbours and keep each other company every evening or whenever they have free time after completing their daily house chores. The weaving however never stops and a simple walk to the shops is also time to weave. This constant weaving makes them specialists in certain types of baskets with some experienced in smaller baskets and some bigger baskets and many creating their own intricate designs to stand out. With their professionalism and organisation they create a unique value proposition to resellers of baskets from around the wold who come to source for their items all the way in their village in Yatta Kenya.  
 I set to capture this series of portraits that sheds light on this cooperative of women, weaver members, who masterfully hand-dye the sisal fibers and weave them into these beautiful works of art, hand weave bowls and baskets with intricate designs. 
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