The protagonists of the Maasai Project
This is the sixth consecutive year that the Maasai women can be seen sewing beneath an acacia tree, taking advantage of any shadow available in the savannah. With their single purpose being the creation of a brighter future for their families, hundreds of Maasai from Kenya and Tanzania hand-stitch leather for Pikolinos.
These are the protagonists of the Maasai Project, an endeavor that has planted a seed of hope in the heart of Africa.
A story behind each shoe
Each sandal tells the story of a Maasai woman, her family, her hardship and her determination to get ahead. Do you want to learn about them?
The pieces of leather are cut in Spain to conform to the Maasai designs, and then sent to Maasai Mara, where they are distributed among the Maasai manyattas (encampments) involved in the project.
There, thousands of miles away on the African savannah, with no highways and surrounded by wild animals, the Swahili-speaking Maasai women form a singular work environment. And it is there that the Pikolinos leather is embroidered with the insignias, colors and typical designs of their culture.
The embroidered pieces are then sent back to Spain, where the footwear is completed and released to the distribution channels.
The final result is a collection of unique sandals that reflects the essence of the Maasai, with the colors and designs unique to their community.
Their needlework is punctuated by smiles, song and conversation. Without leaving their environment or suffering harm to their culture or lifestyle, the women in the Maasai community have learned about fashion, production processes and quality control. Their work is meticulous, and each piece of ornamented leather reflects the strength, color and identity of the tribe.
It has meant learning about shoe lasts, datasheets and quality control, the creation of their own production process, and the implementation of schedules and work-rates that conform to the particular characteristics of the protagonists of this story. Today, the hundreds of women who form a part of the project have attained a stable wage, which in Africa had been a privilege exclusive to men.
The object of the Maasai Project is simple: to draw attention to a unique culture and its values, which are deeply rooted in family and nature, to promote the importance of the Maasai Mara, and to offer hope for a sustainable future.
Each story told on the Mara becomes verse, and each verse is a song. The women join hands and dance, raising their voices in song with the men, and the sound of their body ornaments rings out.
Much more than footwear
This collection is a vision of hopes and dreams that tells stories and builds a better future, a sustainable future.
The Maasai 2015 collection includes moccasins for men with a small Maasai detail on the upper. The limited quantities of this model, in tan and navy blue, make it an exclusive and highly original piece.
Another world is possible
Draw smiles. And know that far from Spain there is a place where its inhabitants are a little happier. A community that now has a special story to tell: the story of the project that bears its name, which is no longer just a dream, but a reality.
A great leader for the community
Tranquility, calm, leadership, drive and perseverance—these are the words that best define Kikanae Ole Pere, or William, as we know him in the West. William is a Maasai warrior, declared leader of his community due to his efforts over the years to provide for his tribe.
One day his path crossed with Rosa Escandell, President of the NGO ADCAM, and together they started this long journey to raise awareness in the Maasai community that they have a future to build: that the Maasai should have their own economic resources other than from tourism, that women could own property and make decisions, that girls should not get married before they are 18 and, of course, that all children should get an education.
All this is promoted by their leader, without losing sight of the culture and values of the Maasai community.
Pikolinos is one of the most important Spanish footwear brands in the world. It operates in over sixty countries and has always been committed to cooperation and fair trade projects in the most disadvantaged countries.
Our beautifully handcrafted footwear is known for its comfort and the color and quality of the leather used. These values tie perfectly with developing a special line together with the Maasai tribe: colored beads hand-embroidered in Kenya, sandals made with love in Spain.
With this sixth edition of Maasai sandals Pikolinos is taking another step forward in its vision of Corporate Social Responsibility.
The Maasai Project would not have been possible without ADCAM, Asociación de Desarrollo, Comercio Alternativo y Microcrédito (Association for Development, Alternative Trade and Micro-credits), the organization with which Pikolinos collaborates and which is dedicated to fostering social projects in various places all over the world.
Education, health, women, and micro-credits are this association’s priorities; it promotes actions to be taken with regard to these issues, and to work on the root of problems suffered by disadvantaged towns, helping them to develop and evolve in line with their own values.
In 2015 we continue to draw from the essence of Africa with our selection of sandals which are hand-embroidered by Maasai tribeswomen. They use traditional beads to decorate Pikolinos leather with tribal designs. These are then sold across the globe and have provided the Maasai community in Kenya with a stable income for the last five years, enabling them access to essential goods.