Beading skills bring hope to community

Mary Papayya

Mary Papayya

A group of widows from Welbedacht East in Chatsworth, south of Durban, have been taking care of the suburb's Aids orphans for the past two years.

Most of the women from the Jubula Skills Village project are single mothers, or grannies whose husbands have died from an Aids-related illness.

Using their skills in creative beading, they are generating a collective income of more than R250000 a year to help the community and their families.

The project, which is supported by the Nebank Foundation, was inaugurated yesterday.

When the project began, 20 women were given training in beading. Today, 120 are producing wearable works of art.

The women make a host of crafts, from jewellery to clothing, and acknowledge with pride that beading is very much part of their Zulu culture.

Nomusa Biyela, 46, is an uneducated widow who has a 15-year-old daughter.

Her beading training has made it possible for her to open her home to a seven-year-old orphaned girl.

Today, 100 widows take care of 108 children, providing them with food, shelter and a home.

By next year, the centre hopes to have trained more than 250 women.

Welbedacht is the largest low-cost housing development in South Africa.