Naramatisho was founded by Manon Hanssen Meyering.
Naramatisho originated from the desire to support her friends in Kenya, in building up a positive existence. And mainly to help them help themselves.
In 2014, Manon moved to Kenya, because of the adoption of my son. There were people on her path that touched her deeply in my heart and changed her life forever. People with talents who craved to blossom. People whom, by their situation however had to survive.
Gradually, the idea emerged to support and motivate them in their personal journey through a cooperation, which is based on making Kenyan handicrafts for sale. These people are inquisitive souls without training, often illiterate, most of whom have never had an employment.
In addition, she works with a group of craftsmen with disabilities. The project started by supporting them on their way. It ultimately also was a process of personal growth and learning that created many beautiful things for Manon herself and the people she works with.
During the start of the project Manon got the name Naramatisho from her ‘Masai sisters’. Naramatisho means “the one who cares”. She who cares about and gives to others. This name is one of the most precious gifts she could ever receive. And immediately she knew Naramatisho would be the name of the label.
With Naramatisho, a label is born that stands for ‘giving’. Giving to you, to the creator, to another one, to the world.
By buying something from Naramatisho, you invest not only in the development and future of the craftsman and his family, but you will also receive an authentic piece in your home with a story, designed with a lot of love and effort. Precisely that story makes the item so special and valuable. The story continues with you or the person to whom you are giving the craft, traveling through so many lives. Unity and connection is created wherever it goes.
Every piece of Naramatisho is unique. The craft has a personal signature; even the items where there is more than one of will differ from each other. Imperfections are allowed to be there for Naramatisho. They give the piece character and authenticity. And thereby demonstrate the commitment and the growth of the creator.
The collection consists of items that have been designed by Manon and the community, complemented by carefully chosen pieces.
Nowadays Manon and her family live between Kenya and Amsterdam, The Netherlands, where Manon works as a freelance writer for women magazines and energetic healer. However her love for the people in Kenya and their mutual projects is still the basis of her work.
Naramatisho is honest and that is a fair basis for reward.
All employees of Naramatisho are paid per item made. The fee they receive for it has always been in consultation and is often determined by them.
Also, part of the profits goes to The Life Traveller Foundation which is committed to enriching lives with transparent and targeted actions. The money will be used for personal small aid projects like buying medicine and food and breakfast & school projects in Kenya.
Let us introduce you to the permanent members of the Naramatisho family.
Amina has been one of my biggest motivations in founding Naramatisho. She is a young mother of a beautiful girl with physical and mental special needs.
Amina has a radiant personality, who is curious about life, wants to grow and dares to think big despite climbing up from nothing. Amina’s main role is to be Manon’s eyes, ears and voice in Kenya when she is not there herself. She is the supervisor of the project; she buys materials and guides the employees, arranges shipments and executes the payments.
Deborah creates the flags, playsuits, blankets and duvet covers with great enthusiasm and commitment.
She is a loyal and hardworking woman that exudes calm and likes to think along with others. She works from her own workplace that she has recently moved into. In addition, she is the mother of two girls aged six and two.
Masudi was involved from the beginning in the process. He has a small sewing shop where, before he participated in the project, mainly carried out repairs to clothing. Masudi is a very kind and gentle soul, a humble and respectful man and the father of eight children. He works hard and is very benevolent. Every now and then he also shows his humorous side. Masudi is the creator of the tough sponge-jackets in various prints and the beautiful Masai dress coats.
The jewellery is made by a group of about 30 Masai women who live in a remote nature reserve. This group does not speak English and their life consists mainly of domestic chores such as caring for the children, gathering wood in the forest, fetching water, cooking, herd care and maintenance of the mud houses. In between their work, they create pieces of jewellery. They work for several days on one piece, sometimes more than a week. Sales of jewellery for most women in the group means their own income for the first time.
Ole is a Masai man who is married to one of the women from the Masai group. He speaks English and accompanies the process of jewellery. With passion he checks the quality and maintains contact with Amina and me.
Saidi is a woodworker. He uses a lot of humour in his work. He was commissioned to make third eye plates and figurines by hand. Saidi is a father of three children.
Rachida (not pictured)
Until recently, Rachida worked as a clothing maker for tourists on the beach. Due to the lack of tourists, he asked for a trial order for Naramatisho and that went so well that he now belongs to one of our regular team members. Rachida makes the jumpsuits and Miss Mombasa dresses.
Salim is a highly professional craftsman. He knows what he wants and he thinks along. Salim is the father of seven children and has his own sewing workshop. He made the zebra jackets for Naramatisho.
To the current collection even more people participated. The wooden toys for example, were made by a group of professionals with disabilities. And specialised woodworker created the buttons of the zebra jackets. Manon also occasionally gave assignments to individuals. For privacy reasons, not everyone is exposed.