On Saturday, April 18, Belk welcomed William, along with Pikolinos, to celebrate the sixth year of their unique collaboration. Birmingham’s brightest style bloggers were on hand and enjoyed one-on-one interviews and lunch with William as he shared stories and raised awareness about the Maasai Project.
Chief Kikanae Ole Pere or William, as he is called in the West, is a champion of Maasai women and their determination to surpass their life-threatening hardships in Kenya. William’s vision for empowerment is supported by Pikolinos, the premium Spanish leather footwear company that partnered with the African tribe to produce the Maasai Project, a collection of shoes, handbags and jewelry that feature the work of the Maasai women.
Each piece of the Maasai Project finished product carries with it the story of the woman who created it. Under this program, leather pieces are cut to shape in Spain from Pikolinos trademark finishes and sent to the Maasai Mara, where they are distributed to hundreds of Maasai women who are participating in the project. These women can be seen sitting in groups beneath shade trees ornamenting the leather at their own pace, in the bold colors and patterns inspired by their culture’s rich, storied heritage.
The finished creations are then returned to Spain to be finished into any number of styles of sandals bearing the Pikolinos insignia, as well as the label Authentic Maasai Design. The designs are then distributed around the globe, with the profits being returned to the women of the Maasai.
“Pikolinos is deeply honored to work with the talented women of the Maasai Mara as well as such an inspired leader as William,” says Juanma Peran, Vice President of Pikolinos. “The Maasai Project enables women and their families in Kenya and Tanzania to have sustainable futures by employing them and providing salaries. At Pikolinos, we are delighted to have such a positive impact on their lives and also support the Maasai values that are deeply rooted in family and nature. Our company was founded on very similar values, which we hold dear to this day. The Maasai Project was a natural fit for us on many levels.”
For more information about Pikolinos and the Maasai Project, please click here.