A number of years ago Pardon stepped up and saved the day when his boss absconded while working on one of our international contracts. He borrowed some money from a close friend, Patrick. Together they took over the production of the consignment and managed to help us to deliver the gifts on time.
The wood and leather range has grown significantly over the years and still remains one of the flagship ranges in our portfolio. It's a relationship that does not only benefit Pardon and his family, it benefits everyone involved in creating the gifts – from the neighbour stringing the beads to the leather supplier, the engravers and the printers. And it's all thanks to one man's vision of a better future for his family.
They were the ones who stood at the robot, begging for money, food or attention. Now they are the artists behind a brilliant gifting range, a label that was established to provide former street children in South Africa with an opportunity to generate an income for themselves.
All the children who contribute artwork towards the gifting range were trained as photographers in this community project establish in 2009. Since the Foundation’s inception, 15 former street children have benefitted from the project. Thirty of them reside at Twilight Centre, a shelter for street children in Hillbrow, Johannesburg.
They met once a week for a workshop, learning skills on disposable cameras on how to search for beauty, composition and interesting subject matter where we thought there were none. It taught them to look, to see, to compose, to capture what they see in a such a way that they can be proud of it.
The children are also involved in the manufacturing of the gifts, which gives them another opportunity to learn new skills. The range has expanded to includes recycled photo frames, key rings, fridge magnets, notebooks, coffee mugs, coasters and placemats.
Positive Beadwork is an income generation project that provides a means for mothers and caregivers of children affected by HIV/AIDS to make a living. The project was established when it was noticed that mothers treated in hospital and at the HIV clinic at Groote Schuur were struggling to provide for their families.
The mothers and caregivers are trained in loom beading and traditional beading techniques. Each week they are given the raw materials and the designs they need to produce their specific work from home. For these mothers, a project day is also a chance for them to enjoy the company and support of friends and leave with the comfort of knowing they have a stable and steady income.
From humble beginnings making simple AIDS pins and flags, we can now fulfil complex, customised designed orders numbering several thousand. A significant proportion of the sales price goes to the mothers, so by ordering these goods you are making an invaluable contribution to the lives of families affected by HIV/AIDS.
Although volunteers are currently helping the organisation to grow, the ultimate aim is for the crafters to take over the running of their business.
Professor and his artists transform wire into life. Their creations have already travelled from an informal settlement outside Cape Town to faraway places like the San Diego Zoo.
Professor is a true family man, and while employing numerous artists from his community, he used his income to support and fund his two younger brothers' university studies. Professor is moving away from the beaded animals and are specialising more and more on random wire art.
When Karun lost his job in 1994, he refused to feel sorry for himself. Instead, he started up with three staff members in a factory that measures 30m2. Today the company runs from a 3000m2 factory, providing work for 94 people!
Karun credits his success to hard work, great customer service and products of the highest quality. He admits that a great amount of self-discipline and many personal sacrifices are required, but says it is all worth it. It also helps that his staff has a great deal of respect for him, not only because Karun has enabled them to look after their families, but also because he is known as a caring employer.
While there are times when it would have been easier and more profitable to just import products from China, he believes we need to stay committed to educating people in South Africa, and we have to continue buying locally manufactured products to create and sustain jobs. His peace of mind comes from the fact that their products are of the highest quality and last much longer than imported goods.
Karun and his team proved once again that to only sell Proudly South African products in an industry with mostly imports will create a better future for all, while at the same time enabling us to deliver top quality products to our clients. We are proud to be associated with this astute businessman.
Reinhold was an exemption student in art at high school. After school he decided to study visual art at the Ruth Prowse school of Art, which also included still life painting, photography, graphic design, desk top publishing, jewellery design and art history. He loved jewellery design so much that he decided to do a three year diploma in jewellery design.
He was nominated as one of the top 50 emerging creatives in the country for his final year exhibition pieces. His first job was working in a dental gold manufacturing company as a production manager. He learned valuable skills in; precious metal alloying, precious sheet metal manufacturing, gold refining and recovery processes.
After seven years in the dental industry he wanted to do something different. His path crossed with Liz, a specialist in product design and manufacturer of functional art pewter pieces. After working together for several months Liz decided to focus more on furniture design and left the business in Reinold’s capable hands.
It’s been a big challenge for Reinold to work with unskilled people, especially under pressure. He decided to go back to studying full time and is currently only making pewter products on a part-time basis.
“Overcoming poverty is not a task of charity; it is an act of justice. Like slavery and Apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made, and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. Sometimes it falls on a generation to be great. YOU can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom.” Nelson Mandela
Every individual in South Africa has the power to not only alleviate poverty, but share abilities, experience and knowledge to the collective advantage of others. Beautiful handcrafted products symbolise the spirit of Africa. Aside from creating employment, supporting this sector helps to create skills and tools for each employee with a dream for their future. These skills are carried into the community where others can also benefit. Individuals get taught to help themselves; to be responsible individuals, to be proud of themselves and not rely on others for their futures.
Creating these products are very labour intensive and the skills needed include moulding, measuring, painting, woodwork, folding and packing boxes and general business skills. It is an exciting process: starting with research through the internet, books, and discussion. This is followed by real-life experience of the subject, for example to see the animal up close and experience its size, the hair, colouring, eye position and other physical traits. This knowledge is taken back to the communities where kids and neighbours also become educated. Finally, we sculpt, mould and hand paint these items of great authentic detail. They are made with care and love. Each piece is a story of our land, a story of hardship, poverty, bad education, the wild, but a promise of a brighter future for all who touch our business. It is a source of pride and inspiration for the entire community. Many of the products have been inspired by specific African tribes and are designed to portray the customs of each tribe.
SHARE time is a vital part of the program. Young women are encouraged to stay at home with their children, either to nurse, be a mother or to do homework. This program was started in 1996 and has proven to be very successful.
The range includes from chess boards, magnets to ostrich egg stands and many more. When one is sold, someone is fed, someone is educated. By buying these products and helping us to sell it. You have shared our story. One success story that stands out is that of Justice, also known as Ayabonga, whom we met at the age of 15. Since the age of 12 he has lived by himself in a tin house alongside a shebeen in a poor community, walking many kilometres each day to school and returning late in the afternoon, often going without food. He washed and cooked and studied under poor lighting conditions every evening. He is now 21 years old. He completed his matric with a BACH university entrance and a distinction in history.
Aya wants to be a success in life and never blames others for his circumstances, just looks forward to where he would like to be. We assisted him with buying textbooks and stationary, and we arranged extra lessons and helped him to eat nutritional food. During 2014, we managed to get him into a boys home in Krugersdorp. During his holidays, he worked at Gala Star. In 2014 we learned that Aya was being bullied at school by gangs, since he was an easy money target as he had a “white” mother forever present in his life. The situation worsened to the point where we had to remove him from his school in the last term of last year and place him in a new school in Cosmo City. He moved in with a foster family and has just thrived. Being cared for nutritionally, academically and in a loving environment, Ayabonga has blossomed into an admirable young man. He advanced out into the adult world, received a bursary into the Legends‘s Hospitality School and is an example to many.