Our Team

Kari Masson, Co-founder of Kayoong, now spearheads the company’s international expansion and special projects. From launching Kayoong in 2017 with an initial $200 fundraiser to patenting the designs and techniques that set the company apart, Kari has grown Kayoong from the ground up. She led the prestigious 2023 CHANEL Paris project and successfully managed funding grants from both US and European agencies. Kari grew up in Côte d’Ivoire, worked in France then lived in Senegal for 15 years. Now based in the US, she oversees product development, international sales, and manages key philanthropic initiatives, including a scholarship fund for orphans and children of widows, as well as microloans and emergency funds.

Ourey Diatta embodies the spirit of Kayoong Community. A pillar of strength and inspiration, she is the Co-founder and also the heart and soul of the organization. As a widow and mother of three sons separated by distance for a decade, Ourey understands the challenges faced by many in our community. Her unwavering determination led her to establish a vital support group for widows, fostering a network of solidarity. Ourey’s mastery of Kayoong’s designs is unparalleled. She leads recruitment and training efforts, ensuring a skilled and empowered workforce. Through her dedication and leadership, Ourey is not only reuniting her own family, but also allowing countless others to build a brighter future.

Yolanda Mepham serves as the Operations Manager for Kayoong, where she oversees daily production, manages an expanding team, restocks shops across Senegal, and develops innovative new designs. Hailing from the UK and New Zealand, Yolanda brings a rich cultural perspective and a deep passion for color and art to her role.With seven years of experience in management and therapeutic care, Yolanda is dedicated to supporting marginalized individuals. She has specific expertise in assisting those exiting slavery and forced marriage, demonstrating a profound commitment to their care and rehabilitation. Yolanda’s blend of professional experience and compassionate approach makes her an invaluable asset to the Kayoong team.

Fatou Diouf joined Kayoong at its inception and has since become a project manager. She’s a driving force behind our success, and played a key role in the production of the CHANEL Paris pieces. A single mother of two, she came to Dakar to build a better life for her children. Fatou perseveres with a radiant smile and infectious laugh, empowering the women of Kayoong to achieve financial independence and personal growth.

Maryam Traoré is creating a brighter future for herself and countless others. Miles from her home in Togo, Maryam is now able to pay for her own universities studies in Dakar through the art of crafting exquisite Kayoong baskets. Her stunning, crocheted pieces represent a powerful movement. By choosing Kayoong, you become part of a story of sustainable luxury that empowers women like Maryam to continue their education.

Bintou Diouf‘s artistry extends beyond the intricate, counter-clockwise patterns of her magnificent rugs—a signature touch from her left-handed mastery. A past illness limits her mobility, yet Kayoong empowers her to thrive. Working from home, Bintou earns a fair wage, supporting her school-aged son and defying limitations.


Fatimata Ba‘s journey is a testament to Kayoong’s impact. Leaving the Casamance to pursue real estate management studies in Dakar, Fatimata leveraged her rug-making earnings from Kayoong to complete her crucial third year. Now, with a brighter future in sight, she sets her sights on a law degree with confidence and independence.


Edwige Assine, a single mother and caregiver, exemplifies the transformative power of Kayoong. While balancing part-time work, she found an outlet and additional income through crocheting for Kayoong. Her handiwork was a highlight of a Dakar Women’s Group Fashion Show in the Bags by Lucy’s collection. Witnessing her newfound confidence as she creates and contributes to the projects testifies to Kayoong’s mission of ethical production and social impact.

Nafy Diatta found meaningful work and access to vital resources through Kayoong. Despite the limitations of her amputation, Nafy found a path to financial independence through home-based work with Kayoong. But Kayoong’s impact goes beyond income. Recognizing Nafy’s health needs, we provided crucial funding for specialized diabetes care and education, enabling her to manage the condition effectively. Today, Nafy is off insulin and under qualified medical supervision, a testament to Kayoong’s holistic support. 

Kayoong would not have started without Danielle Liebenow, a visionary who is passionate about helping other women reach their goals and potential.