Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Women helping women.

I am starting a project with women from Diepsloot, the township close by my house. This is an informal settlement with about 13.000 families living in corrugated shacks with no running water or electricity. I already volunteered there at a school to children between 8-10 helping and teaching them English as a 2nd language.

But I want to do more, different things and I have started this new project now. (Still in the beginning fase, but you have to start somewhere!) We are starting with a few women with small crafts, me providing them with the materials and let them make the crafts after showing them the examples, colors, quality etc.

I want to start project by project, because you get better at things the more you make them. So first we start with pincushions, we will make about a 100. Then start with a new project, I am thinking of a local doll. By the time of the end of this year, I will have a good feeling who of the women is consistent in showing up and consistent in her craft skills and then I can start bigger crafts.

But I have to start slowly and teach them also the level of quality we want in the Western world. By the time we have enough crafts I will start selling them on the Internet via an ETSY store, so I need your help to get the word around and being my customer.

What my ultimate goal is to help a group of women to get a steady income, even AFTER I am gone, but work from home so they can still provide for their children. So ALL my profits go to these women, it will be a small project to start, but I am hoping that we eventually can get at least 25 families to provide for themselves without any help from others. I believe if you help the WOMEN it will trickle down to the children, so they can get a good education and get out this vicious cycle of poverty, abuse and addictions. So please help me by the time I start my ETSY shop!! You will help some of these local women, children and families here in Diepsloot. And I will give you updates on my circle of new friends! How fun is that?!

So I gathered some examples of pincushions they can use as an inspiration for our first project. I bought all the materials and we are starting today! When JJ and Jezz saw what we were doing yesterday they also wanted to make something, so I found this cute template from Anna Maria Horner here of an owl that you can make from felt and the girls made their own softy in just one afternoon. They are so proud!! Go to this fabulous website and print out your own cute Owl, your children will love to make one. Either with felt or paper, both adorable!!

So what do you think of my new project? Will it succeed??
And what are you up to lately, making also crafty things or more into the reading, movies, gardening, how do you spend you free time??

Have a Wonderful Wednesday!
Love, M


plantagenet said...

Hi Mireille, what a wonderful idea!!!The pincushions are very pretty and nice! For dolls: I have always regretted that the only dolls in Africa were not authentical only those of the Ndebele. Do you remember the Frida Kahlo doll I bought in Women's museum in Washington? I can send you another picture if you like. I think if the dolls of the different tribes with their nice dresses, also those of Namibia (Herero women) would be nice for souveniers. But also where would you sell them? on the Joburg rooftop or Michael Mounts market or?? Icould imagine the marketing thing is the most important. Normally those women have undiscovered talents and maybe their own ideas too? Wish you all the luck and if I can do something for you, let me know. Love, Ginster

Jessica said...

What a great idea. I love it!

PixieBelle said...

That is a wonderful idea. My old school was what was then Phuthing and now Summit College, in postally Diepsloot but not quite where this settlement is. We used to teach english at the local farm school after our school day and it was such an eye opening and wonderful experience. I wish all the women who will be working with you the best success. It's hard pulling your family out of this type of life without a helping hand at first so I hope this project takes root and grows amazing branches for thr future.

Robin and Kyle said...

This is a great idea. I agree with plantagenet that African dolls would be a great thing to make also. My grandmother brought me a South African doll back from her travels that was made by a women's collective that taught women to support themselves through sewing (this was nearly 20 years ago). I still have it because it was one of my favorites.

plantagenet said...
Hi Mireille, found these wonderful dolls, maybe an inspiration for your project? love and all the best

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