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When we met Geraldine four years ago, she was a shy and insecure 20-year-old girl. As a member of our standby team she helped with the cleaning and packing of products, but we soon recognized her talent and potential, and integrated her into our core team. Today she is a supervisor and provides financially for her child and extended family. Geraldine admits that the early days were difficult. “The first time I had to operate the machines was quite scary, but as time passed I got used to it. As one progresses from the standby team to the core team you get filled with a love for the job. The thought that a product I make ends up in the homes of important people fills me with happiness and I’m proud of my creation”. Stories like Geraldine’s, combined with a passion for design and a need for personal growth, led Liz to establish her own pewter studio. Skills development is a big part of what she does and while she acknowledges that it is a challenge working with unskilled people, especially when under pressure, she feels that nothing beats seeing people gaining self-confidence and realizing their dreams. “No person can stay self-centred when living these moments with fellow citizens – it becomes a life passion to develop skills.” Big jobs are a blessing for Liz and her team. It creates opportunities for skills development, because the standby team has to assist with casting, mould making, polishing and packing. It also leads to more sustainable employment, because as her studio grows she can employ standby team members on a permanent basis. This in turn creates more spaces to fill on her standby team. It’s a win-win situation which will most definitely reduce unemployment and poverty in the community.
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