I found out about the Amias Project and the Barabaig tribe about two years ago as a result of a Google search for something relatively unrelated. Below is an excerpt from the Amias Project website about the organization, their mission, and the Barabaig tribe:
“For centuries, the nomadic Barabaig tribe of East Africa has roamed the plains and savannas, adorning themselves with beautiful rings, bracelets, and jewelry. Through the Amias Project, the Barabaig now want to send their beautiful things and their stories around the world.
On one return to Tanzania, Nichole Smaglick, founder of Amias and Another Land, was reunited with a wise, old Barabaig woman named Udada. She gave Nichole a bracelet and told her, “When you go home, use this to tell others about me.” With that, the idea of Amias was born.
Since then, the project has mobilized over 200 Barabaig men and women in central Tanzania to design and craft jewelry and handbags inspired by traditional fashions. The project aims to uplift and empower traditional culture. It also helps generate significant income and educational opportunities for disadvantaged communities.
Amias and its fair trade mission have allowed families to find stability in a region wracked by hardship and frequent drought. More parents now send their children to school, and they have enough food in times of need. They are increasing their livestock and making plans for the future.
Amias, in the ancient language of the Barabaig, means “beautiful.” So when wearing Amias jewelry or handbags, always remember that you are wearing hope, the story of the Barabaig, and something beautiful.”
*Photocredit: The Amias Project