The beaders whose stories you see here are amazing, strong women who are working very hard to make the jewelry making project a success. As you will read many times in their individual stories, the money they earn is lifesaving for their families. In an area where many children do not survive childhood, this income greatly improves the chances that their children will be able to grow up. And the support the beaders receive from each other as they work together has become one of the most important things in their lives.

Many women in this area have either been widowed by AIDS or have been abandoned by the fathers of their children and are left to raise them alone. They live in terribly impoverished conditions in one of the “informal settlements” of South Africa. An informal settlement is fundamentally a shanty town, most commonly an extension of a township, one of the black areas which developed under apartheid rule. Although townships are more developed and have infrastructure, the informal settlements have neither infrastructure nor even the most basic amenities.

In these areas, it is common for an entire family to live in a tiny shack made of rolled tin, perhaps 8 X 10 feet, with no sewage and no running water. The floors may only be dirt. The only toilets are the holes in the outhouses nearby. The only water is brought in to community tanks which, only if they are lucky, may occur once each week. Family members will have to walk long distances to haul water back to their shack. At best, food may consist of just a cup of cornmeal gruel eaten once each day. And at this level of poverty, not even that is a sure thing.

Because of the isolation and overwhelming poverty of this area, finding a job is often almost impossible. The women chosen for the beading project are those whose need for income was quite desperate. They were malnourished themselves and not able to find a way to properly care for their children. The ability to feed their growing children the diet that a child's body needs was nonexistent.

With the H.O.P.E. project, they have learned the ancient African skill of making beaded jewelry and are now able to earn money to feed and clothe their children and themselves, and have a valuable skill that gives them hope for security.

When you purchase jewelry through H.O.P.E., you are reaching your hands across the oceans to take the hands of these remarkable women, offering them realistic hope for the future for both themselves and their families.

For more in-depth information on how these impoverished communities came to be in South Africa, the living conditions in which these women and children currently exist, and the role that an economic upliftment project may play in changing their lives, please Click Here


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Jerminah Nzuza, 32.
“I want to be a good mum and
support my children and put them through school. I want to give them
the best a mother can give. I hope
we can help more mommies to get involved so they can help their
children, too.”
To read more Click Here

Khethiwe Xaba, 22.
“I can dream while I bead. There are
ladies to talk to and get advice from.
And it is good just to be with each
other. If I need anything, someone in
the group is always happy to help me.”

To read more Click Here

Nomangwane May, 24.
“Life is not always simple. Until now,
life has been too hard. That is why
I don’t want to leave this project.
I want to stay. This gives me hope
for the future.”
To read more Click Here
Nomhle Nkabinde, 30.
“The beading is my chance to help
my children, to feed them and clothe them and care for them. They must go
to school. I no longer fight for me. It is too late. Now I fight for my children.”
To read more Click Here
Selina Mashao, 28.
“I was so desperate for a job so that
I could buy food and clothing for my
children. Now the bead project is
perfect for me. It makes my heart so happy to be able to buy food to fill
their bellies, and buy clothing to keep them warm.”
To read more Click Here
Zodwa Mngomezulu, 33.
“God gave me hands to work. I love
the beading. When I see the work we
do with beads I think, why should we
stay at home when we can work?
This is a gift from God.”

To read more Click Here
Bongikile Ngcobese, 32.
“I love this beading. It is my way to
build a better life for me and my
children. And the other women are
like my family now. I am not so
alone now.”
To read more Click Here
Elizabeth Lekunya, 35.
“I want people to know that I am a
strong woman. I know I am strong.
I got love. I love people. I love nature.
And I love God very much.”
To read more Click Here
Elizabeth Timapo, 31.
“I am so excited about working
and earning an income to help
my children. And I so much enjoy
working with the other ladies doing
the beading. We solve problems
together, and help each other.
It makes life better.”
To read more Click Here

Copyright H.O.P.E. 2010