THE NYOTA FARSAMO STORY
We are a Somali-Kenyan artisan collective from Dadaab making beautifully handcrafted products inspired by our Somali heritage.
Founded in 2018, NYOTA FARSAMO is a Somali-Kenyan artisan collective from Dadaab, a town in north-east Kenya turned refugee camp in 1991. Made up of 48 women and two men, we work together to make beautifully handmade products inspired by our common Somali heritage.
NYOTA means “star” in Swahili and “FARSAMO” means “artisan” in Somali - this combination of Somali and Swahili represents the mixed cultures of the collective. With our handwork, we hope to share the beauty and story of our culture and improve our challenging situation in Dadaab.
NYOTA FARSAMO is made up of five existing self-help groups. With 48 women artisans and two male carpenters, the collective represents our efforts to unite our strengths to overcome the challenges of Dadaab and reach out to markets in Kenya and internationally.
The five self-help groups which make up the NYOTA FARSAMO collective are: Handlloom Women Group, Hawa Naf Group, Sumeya Cultural Group, Daryel Women Group and Wamo Women Group. Each group is composed of 10 artisans and were formed as a means to cope with the challenges of Dadaab – especially those affecting women.
Dadaab is one of the world’s largest refugee camps located in north-east Kenya – with a population of nearly 200,000 people in 2018. The camp was established following the 1991 civil war in Somalia. The camp is now nearly 30 years old, and hosts first, second and third generation Somali refugees across four different camps and is also home to local Kenyan living in Dadaab town.
Dadaab is located in Garissa County and this is an arid and desert landscape with average temperatures of 30°C. The land is sandy, but some areas are filled with shrubs and one can spot roaming wild camels and giraffes.
Dadaab is in a state of uncertainty as during a stage the Kenyan government was looking to relocate the camp. Some of the population moved to the Kakuma refugee camp, some were relocated to Somalia but many are still in Dadaab.