Daraja Academy has grown alongside the Twala Cultural Manyatta in a partnership of sisterhood. The Twala Cultural Manyatta, lead by Project Manager Rosemary Putunoi, hosts Maasai cultural experiences and provides guided ecotours. Authentic accommodations are provided to those who wish to stay overnight. Local Maasai women conceptualized the manyatta, and worked hard to bring it to life. One highlight of a visit to the manyatta is the Baboon Walk, where a guided tour can be arranged in order for visitors to observe wild baboons up close and in their natural habitat.
10% of profit earned by the Twala Cultural Manyatta goes to the daughters of Twala women–a funding model of female empowerment and encouragement. The daughters of Twala women are encouraged to apply for places at Daraja Academy.
Visitors to the manyatta receive a unique opportunity to observe and take part in traditional Maasai culture, while contributing to its preservation. The women host events in a beautiful hall that can be rented by large groups, a service which supplies the majority of their income. They also sell intricate hand-made traditional Maasai beaded jewellery. The manyatta includes beehives and a large aloe vera garden–a plant they sell to the prominent British cosmetics company Lush.
Priscilla (pictured below) is a college-educated 23-year old. She manages the aloe vera plantation and the beehives. Her knowledge of ecology and her passion for the manyatta project is obvious when you ask her questions about her life and work.
Jason Doherty and Leslie Acoca of the Daraja Education Fund, visited the Twala Cultural Manyatta in September 2017. “The women’s village sets a global example of women helping girls, women supporting themselves through permaculture and business, and the power of beauty,” said Leslie.
This was a special time for Jason, who also brought his two year-old son, Thomas, to meet the women of Twala for the first time.
As you leave the manyatta, the Maasai women will help you to your car in the same way in which you arrived; they will hold both of your hands and lead you along with traditional dancing and beautiful singing. The mood is jovial, and it is impossible not to smile.
For more information on the Twala Cultural Manyatta, please visit: