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Jewelry with a purpose: Zulugrass beads

May 11, 2010

Helping other people is a beautiful thing! Like many moms, I’ve tried to instill this message in my kids throughout the years with volunteer projects for church, school, and our ongoing work for the literacy organization Success Won’t Wait.

So, when I learned about The Leakey Collection of beautiful “jewelry with a purpose,” I was thrilled. The Leakey Collection was created by Philip and Katy Leakey, who live among the Maasai in the Kenyan bush. The Maasai are a pastoral group of people from the Great Rift Valley of Kenya and Tanzania.

According to the Philip and Katy, the Maasai still keep their traditions intact — herding cattle and living off the land — even as modernization changes the world around them. But, a terrible drought that lasted several years has devastated their pasture lands. The Maasai’s livelihood has disappeared as their cattle died and the men have had to drive the few remaining cattle hundreds of miles away to search for better grazing. It quickly became evident that the women desperately needed a way to obtain medical supplies, and to feed, clothe, and educate their children.

The Leakey’s wanted to help their neighbors and to provide work opportunities without changing the unique culture of the Maasai. They came up with a truly imaginative idea that would utilize the excellent beading abilities of the Maasai women. And so Zulugrass was born. Zulugrass beads are made from sustainable natural grasses and dyed in a wide range of colors with Czech glass beads to add sparkle.

Today, over 1400 hundred Maasai women are making Zulugrass while continuing to lead their lives in their traditional lifestyle, using their income to better their lives and the lives of their families. Beautiful!

The firm’s website is absolutely filled with gorgeous products. One of the best is the multi-strand necklace. The necklace incorporates 16 strands of Zulugrass beads in a beautiful combination. Uniquely adjustable, you can simply pull on the satin cord to wear as a long necklace or a choker. Available in a dozen colors. Retail $24.95 – $39.95

My other favorite is the single strands, used in combinations. The 26” strands are sold individually in a rainbow of shades for an infinite variety of looks. Wear them singly, together as a necklace, short, long, wrapped around the wrist as a bracelet – the possibilities are endless! Retail $12.95 per strand, and buy 5 strands and get 1 strand free.

In addition to these lovely pieces, the Leakey Collection has an entire line of jewelry in wood and porcelain. Even better, there’s now a huge selection of fabulous accessories like sunglass holders, belts, clasps, and even bangles!

But you don’t have to just take my word for it. The secret is out and the Leakey Collection has been featured in national magazines like People, InStyle and even Money.

It’s easy to get this great style and help the Maasi. The firm has an easy-to-use Store Locator or you can even order online.

Simply beautiful!

Susan McNeill is a wife, mother, author, entrepreneur and social activist. In addition to Susan Said What?! Susan also writes for Style on a WHIM, It’s how you play the game!, and Success Won’t Wait!


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