Pretty’s Products

Post a Comment » Written on November 28th, 2012     
Filed under: Community Development
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Below is another great update from our partner Zimele, in South Africa. This women’s empowerment project give women the necessary skills and resources to begin their own businesses and projects to support their families and communities.

“Pretty Mbeje, a dynamic and willing woman, is involved in the Zimele Craft Programme. She is a member of the Qhubekela Self Help Group.  Pretty, along with the rest of this group decided to see what craft training could do for them back in 2011 and they worked on various products throughout the year.  Pretty enjoyed the craft program and she was able to make products with great skill and a great attention to quality and detail.  Pretty and the group focused on sewing as this is where her skills were best and she enjoyed making these types of products. 

Pretty comes from a household of 9 people and is married, but lives in a house that is owned by her in-laws.  But, even though the house is not hers or her husbands, she is lucky to have electricity to cook with and to use for lights (although her heating is mainly still done with wood).  Pretty’s income in 2011 was approximately R2000 a year, which is a relatively good income but it doesn’t go far as there are 9 people in the house.  Her income mainly comes from her husband (who is the primary income earner) and child grants and in 2011 she earned a little sum for her craft as she was still learning.  But, still she persevered with the craft program as it made her happy to be doing something to contribute to the house and she enjoyed being with the other women of the group. 

In 2012 the program began to take on a different meaning for Pretty when she lost her daughter.  For many people a death in the family is indeed a tragedy but for so many young South African women it often means there are children left without parents as the mother’s partner has also passed away or is absent from the family.  This was the case with Pretty’s daughter, who had a small child of her own, who suddenly no longer had parents.  As a grandmother at the young age of 43, Pretty was left with the daunting task of taking on another infant.  

It is a large heart that takes on another child when you have already supported your own children, but Pretty is that sort of women – strong and determined in many ways.  Pretty has also stuck with the craft program, as it is a way for her to supplement her income and put her craft money toward raising the little girl.  Pretty now earns more for her craft work and can earn between R150 and R300 a month – which is a great boost to the household and most importantly means that a little girl can be brought up with clothes and food.  We see this lovely little girl come to the program and she is doing well in the care of her granny.  

Pretty may not be the highest earner of her craft group but she has kept on going through tough times – first the loss of her own daughter and then the task of looking after her granddaughter, and even with little time left for craft work she is still working and doing her best.  Last year she learned to make fabric bags for eyeglasses and this year the group is getting good orders for Tea Cosies. They then made Coffee Cosies and Cup Warmers (as a special product for America).  Right now Pretty has learned to make aprons and looks forward to the orders.”

Please continue praying for these women as they work to make life better for their families. Consider supporting this project by clicking here.

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