Saturday, April 2, 2016
Farm closed, let the beading begin.
Writing a blog every week has its challenges. Sometimes I just want to write and tell you all the sad things that happened that week, mostly because misery loves company. But then I know that I would lose some of my readership because the blog was just too darn sad all the time. Another reason to not do that is because there are so many good news stories to share as well.
Two weeks ago we had to close our vegetable farming due to lack of water. It was a heartbreaking and discouraging week and we had to retrench a lot of people. But some had the opportunity to go and interview or “try out” at the Khutsala Artisan building. Today I have good news to report.
Khutsala is a siSwati word for “hard working” and it is a very inspirational word. We started this jewelry making business at the end in 2013 and it grew rapidly, largely due to an amazing team of young Swazi’s and people like you who bought our goods.
As of last week, Khutsala employs 127 people who are mainly focused on our Beadcraft. We are making, and plan to sell 40,000 Christmas tree ornaments this year (up from 13,000 in 2015!) and we recently designed and produced three different garden/plant decorations that are in the US available on our website as of Friday. A perfect Mother’s Day gift, and 100% of all the profit goes directly back to buying diapers and formula for our 112 babies! https://squareup.com/store/heart-for-africa.
Everyone who buys our Beadcraft says that it is the best that they have seen. We pay very close attention to the beads themselves, the wire wrapping must be tight and the frame has to be exact.
For every artisan that we hire, they are providing for an average of 13 people back at home.
Here is a brief story, written by a young man who works on new designs and trains others to make 3D animals. I am sure you will be inspired by his story.
“My name is Sibongaliphi Manana. I am a guy aged 26-years. I was born 22 September 1989.
I live at Gebeni Community, which is an hour drive from Project Canaan. I attended my primary school at a nearby school, Gebeni Primary School. This is where my parents decided that I stop schooling in Grade 5 due to lack of support for my school fees.
I come from a family of 7 children (5 boys and 2 girls) and I am the fourth born. Both my parents were unemployed, they were only making traditional sandals, which didn’t have a good market.
As I was staying home I started helping my father and when designing the sandals and that is where I got skilled. Without realizing I was talented, life was hard at home and so I decided to look for a job on the farm at Project Canaan. Luckily I was employed in July 2013.
I started working on the farm, then later with God’s help, I heard they wanted to start a handcraft center called Khutsala Artisans. Knowing I was talented, I decided to apply for a job and move from the fields to join the Artisans.
From there I was able to help my family with food and paying for my little brothers school fees. This is where I realized I belong to Khutsala Artisans because I was able to come up with new designs.
This helped me a lot and I was able to build a house for my parents and get electricity. Before this, we had no electricity at the house. I did not just stop there, I also took some of my salary and attended driving school, and now I have my driver’s license.
In conclusion, I give thanks to Project Canaan for the provision of a job, which helped my parents and myself achieve many things.”
I hope that you will support the Khutsala Artisans by shopping today at ! https://squareup.com/store/heart-for-africa. And don't forget that 100% of the profit goes directly to buying diapers and formula for our 112 babies!
If you are interested in being a part of our Christmas ornament sales team, please contact Kim Evinsky at kime@Heartforafrica.org.
Live from Warsaw, Poland … enjoying the weekend before the International Egg Commission Conference.