We have been doing paper beads for close to 4 years now and the reasons behind this initiative has been to equip women living in difficult circumstances with practical skills that they can use to make a living. The project enables us to form strong relationships with the ladies thereby providing an entry point to preach the gospel.
The project also does away with the idea of hand outs and instead gives the people an opportunity to use their creativity to make a product that they can sell. This often leads to an increase in their sense of self worth as they begin to realise that they can use their God given abilities to improve their circumstances.
About The Ladies
The project comprises of 10 ladies who have persevered to learn how to make paper beads.
These ladies live under difficult condition. All of them live in a one roomed house which they often share with children and in some cases relatives, it is not uncommon to see a family of 7 and in some cases more.
Most of them got married at a young age and so did not have an opportunity to advance in their education.
Their biggest challenges have been to obtain basic food for their families and also to pay for their children’s education. Most of the money they have received through the bead making project has been used for food and school fees.
The beads are made from cereal boxes and magazines which after cutting them into strips are rolled with a small wire to make a bead.
The beads are then painted and varnished to give them their glossy appearance.
They do all the rolling of the beads in the evening or when they get some spare time during the day. They have had times when their electricity has been cut for close to two months which has been an obstacle.
We meet with the ladies twice a week and one day is for painting and varnishing another for assembling them to make the beautiful jewellery.
Often when we meet we have a short bible study first and as we work we get an opportunity to catch up and discuss provide moral support to each other.
We have often sold the beads outside the country through friends and connections .We have also tried selling them locally but the harsh economic situation has left people more concerned about securing the basic commodity and not luxury.
We have had 3 sewing machines donated to us and within the next few months we are hoping to start making hand bags with African print to compliment the jewellery.
Personal Information On The Ladies
This is Sibonile Mpofu aged 41.She is married with two children. Her husband suffers from a chronic sickness and because of his condition he is unable to exert himself without becoming sick. This has meant that Sibonile has to be the breadwinner in the family. She tries to provide for her family by sewing and she heavily relies on the profits that come from the paper jewellery. Her youngest child also has a chronic condition. She has gone through so many challenges in her life but when you meet her you will not fail to notice sense of humour and big smile. She has bought a donkey and a calf with the profits from the paper beads .She hopes to move to the rural areas over time to settle there with her family.
This is Meceive Sibanda and she is 28 years old. She is married and has 2 children. Her husband works and is the main breadwinner in the family. Her main challenge has been acquiring of food for her family and being part of the bead making project has enabled her to support the family.
This is Morrie Sibanda and she is 34 years old. She is married and has 3 children with her youngest being 3 years old. Her husband went to South Africa two years ago hoping to get a job to support the family but he has not been successful and refuses to come back home. Morrie has had to bare the whole responsibility of looking after her family and the financial obligations that come with that. She has relied on the money from the bead making project to pay for her children‘s education and also for food. She is a very hard working lady.
This is Monalisa Majoni and she is 30 years old. She is married and has 2 children. Her husband has 3 other children from a previous marriage. Her husband has been on a stable job which enabled them to cover all their expenses but like most Zimbabweans he has been going to work (to secure his job)but the company has not been able to pay them a salary .This has caused a lot of financial problems in their family.
This is Dorcas Mhlanga and she is 32 years old. She has 3 children but is also looking after 4 other children in her one roomed house. She is married but her husband is not employed, so she is the main breadwinner. She has tried to support her family by being involved in different business ventures to ensure that the children are sent to school and for food. Of late the economic situation in our country has made it impossible for her to pursue her business venture so she has been relying on the bead making project to at least make ends meet.
This is Elizabeth Sibanda and she is 32 years old. She is a single woman with one child and she makes her living by selling a few vegetables on her stall which is near the flats. Her main challenge has been to cover her living expenses, her child’s education and upkeep.
This is Thokozile Dhliwayo, she is 38 years old. She is married and has 3 children. Her husband works and is the main breadwinner. They have had a tough time as a family trying to secure accommodation as they have been staying with in-laws. They are planning on moving to South Africa for greener pastures.
She is 25 years old and is married with 2 children. She also looks after her husband’s brother who stays with them with his 3 children. She has had to take on such a big responsibility at a young age. Her husband works in a bakery but does not make enough to sustain the big family. She is very a very bubbly person who has a good sense of humour.
This is lavender Zulu and she is 29 years old. She is married and has 2 children. Her husband will do small jobs for a living but is not permanently employed. She is a hard worker and will often offer to do laundry for others for income. They have recently been able to send their children to school.
This is Viola Phiri she is in her 50s and has been a single parent for some time now .She lives with elderly father, her two children and looks after her sister’s children. She the team leader.
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