Stitching up torn lives

Stitching up torn lives
Beaded dolls are helping South African women living with HIV/AIDS to earn an income and regain hope and dignity
Tags: Heroes, South Africa, help AIDS, HIV, women, beaded, dolls, Reader’s Digest,  Glynis Horning

Sourced from http://www.readersdigest.com.au/life/stitching-up-torn-lives/article178210-1.html

Janet Ncube climbs the dusty red path from her mud home in the Valley of a Thousand Hills outside Durban, and casts her mind back to a day, six years ago, when she made the same climb but had to stop every few paces. “Today I still stop sometimes to look at the view,” the 49-year-old says quietly, resting her dark eyes on the rugged, hut-speckled slopes around her. “But that terrible day I stopped to pray for the strength to go on. I was full of pain and fear with this HIV sickness. I had to get help.”

Like others in this impoverished community, Janet found it at what some whisper is a “Place of Angels” – the Hillcrest AIDS Centre. Back in 2003 it was simply a metal shipping container in the grounds of the Hillcrest Methodist church. A small team under a registered nurse offered HIV testing, counselling, medication, food parcels, education and the support of dedicated homecare volunteers. But for many, including Janet, it was the training they received under the centre’s Woza Moya (“come holy spirit” or “come change” in Zulu) craft project run by 38-year-old Paula Thomson that has helped them the most.

Janet’s husband had left her with seven children; two had died from tuberculosis and none had jobs. But some of her children now excitedly emerge from her house to greet Paula, who has come to visit.

“Paula showed me a way to help myself and my family,” Janet smiles, watching the vibrant brunette in jeans and vivid beadwork banter in Zulu with her children. “Today we have electricity, a tap and fares for the school bus. Paula and Woza Moya gave me purpose.”

It’s a story told by many of the other women back at the centre. There, the premises now include a basic but comfortable 25-bed respite care unit and a community organic vegetable garden. But the centre’s warm heart is the Woza Moya workshop – a barn-like brick building bright with coloured beadwork and bolts of fabric, pumping with the strains of Ukhozi FM Zulu radio and the chatter of contented, busy women.

“Sometimes I forget they are sick,” Paula confides, surveying them with affection. “I think they forget, too, and it helps them!” When Janet began vomiting blood after joining the project and was taken for pioneering vascular surgery at a nearby hospital, Paula told her she couldn’t die – she had to finish a crochet order for top South African fashion designer Amanda Laird Cherry. “Janet pulled through, in spite of a compromised immune system. When I think how far she and these other women have come, I have to pinch myself. I feel so honoured to have been a part of this.”

It’s been a crucial part, although Paula is too modest to say so, starting when she gave up a teaching post at a top private high school to join the team in the cramped shipping container. She had run a school outreach project, with her pupils partnering centre patients. They taught 13 women fabric painting, and designed shopping bags which the women made and the schoolchildren sold at flea markets. Then an order came in for 1000 bags for an international conference in Durban. “Suddenly I was running a business, battling to keep up with orders!” she says, still surprised.

When the centre received funding from German Agro Action, Paula was offered a part-time job with the project. “My husband, Bruce, was newly ­qualified as a homeopath and we’d just bought our first home, but he said, “You’re passionate about it, Paula: do it!’ ” Today, Woza Moya has 300 women skilled in crafts from beading and sewing to crochet and pottery. For many it’s the first time they are earning, and they support and train others at home: “Brothers, boyfriends, grannies – some women have 30 people beading or sewing under them,” she says proudly. When she received an order for 200,000 beaded AIDS ribbons from Gap International in 2006, she worked with 810 women.

Tired of ribbons, Paula then suggested introducing a human element in their designs. She and the women sat with beads and fabric, and each made a brooch figurine with its own character. The first dolls, which are not much bigger than a safety pin, were sold at a flea market seven years ago. “A granny bought one and rushed back for another because someone had asked for hers, and it had moved on,” she says, “So we called them ‘Little Travellers’.”
To help Paula Thomson and the women of Woza Moya make a difference with their Little Traveller project go to http://www.littletraveller.org.za/

To purchase online from Oxfam Australia click here – http://www.oxfam.org.au/explore/hiv-and-aids/features/travellers-tales

To find out more about all the amazing work done at the Hillcrest AIDS Centre go to http://hillaids.org.za/

Sourced from http://www.readersdigest.com.au/life/stitching-up-torn-lives/article178210-1.html

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5 Responses to “Stitching up torn lives”

  1. craiglock Says:

    Thanks for the comment/follow/link/like
    Hi

    CAN’T KEEP UP…BUT THANKS FOR THE “THANX”
    MANY MORE COMMENTS OVERNIGHT (many thousands already),.. together with hundreds of thousands already on my various other blogs at http://craigsblogs.wordpress.com/2013/09/28/craigs-blogs-and-writings/…true!) …obsessive or WHAT! *So hope it’s not slowing down your loading speed!). Am really pleased you are enjoying my writings, as the reason I write is to share.
    So sorry can’t reply individually to all you good people scattered around the planet, but DO try to read as many as possible daily (and even moderate a few when I get a “mo”),

    * “Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.”

    ~ Franz Kafka

    I do really appreciate your liking, linking to and/or following this blog (and “writing in”), so “thanks for the thanx”

    “As we live and move and have our being, so from this vision, we create heaven in our own lives… and perhaps even heaven on earth.”
    – craig (as inspired by Acts 17:28 and the words of Felicia Searcy)

    “Aim at the earth and you may not get off the ground.a
    “Aim at the stars and you may reach the moon.”
    “Aim at heaven and you’ll have earth thrown in…
    and you may even hit the stars.”
    – craig (as inspired by the famous quote by CS Lewis – 24th May 2012)

    “When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”
    – Leonardo da Vinci

    When (or if ever) you arrive in heaven, let faith, hope and love be the wings that carried you there.”

    – as adapted from the inspiring words of Jonathan Edwards, former minister in New England, Massachusetts

    “The Greatest Race: Living by (with) faith, hope and love is the highest podium any person can reach, God’s podium that anyone stand on.”
    – c

    from http://www.sharefaith.wordpress.com

    “Having pursued the goals, the dreams set before us and run the race with persistence and endurance, after giving it all. Then one day standing on the summit of life, breathing in the pure sweet oxygen of achievement, totally satisfied in running the greatest race, the race of life one that ANYONE can run and win.”

    from http://racetothechequeredflag.wordpress.com/ and http://www.godandformula1.wordpress.com

    “If a man is called to be a street-sweeper,
    he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted,
    or Beethoven composed music, or
    Shakespeare wrote poetry.
    He should sweep streets so well
    that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say,
    here lived a great street sweeper
    who did his job well.”
    – Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.

    PPS
    Instead of trying to reply to each one of you, I’ll just keep on writing

    “If the doctor told me I had six minutes to live, I’d type a little faster.”

    The various books* that Craig “felt inspired to write” are available at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005GGMAW4

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=la_B005GGMAW4_sr?rh=i%3Abooks&field-author=Craig+Lock
    https://www.createspace.com/pub/simplesitesearch.search.do?sitesearch_query=%22craig+lock%22&sitesearch_type=STORE

    http://www.creativekiwis.com/index.php/books and http://goo.gl/vTpjk

    All proceeds go to needy and underprivileged children –
    MINE!

    Don’t worry about the world ending today…
    as it’s already tomorrow in scenic and tranquil ‘little’ New Zealand
    ”Since I can never see your face,
    And never shake you by the hand,
    I send my soul through time and space
    To greet you. You will understand.”

    – James Elroy Flecker (1884-1915)

    Like

  2. craiglock Says:

    Reblogged this on “THE JOURNALIST “… REVEALING AND INTERESTING.

    Like

  3. craiglock Says:

    Reblogged this on The Foreign Correspondent.

    Like

  4. craiglock Says:

    Reblogged this on Craig's Books.

    Like

  5. craiglock Says:

    Thanks for the comment (?), follow/link/like/reblog and/or kind thought(s)

    Hi

    CAN’T KEEP UP…BUT THANKS FOR THE “THANX”

    I’ve had many many hundreds of thousands of comments on my various other WordPress blogs at https://craigsblogs.wordpress.com/2011/09/09/craigs-list-of-blogs-updated-sept-2011/
    in recent years …true!) …a few of my blogs went “balistically viral” a few years back.

    Obsessive or WHAT! Am really pleased you are enjoying my writings, as the reason I write is to share. However I am unable to keep up with the comments and was spending entire days just on replies on my various blog pages.

    Though I’m rather “driven”, I still get really, really fatigued (there’s a few books there). so sorry can’t reply individually to all you good people scattered around the planet, but DO try to read as many as possible daily (and even moderate a few when I get a “mo”), I got swamped with comments on my various blogs, so have had to close them off on all of my blogs, except for one or two of particular interest to me – sorry and hope you can understand.

    * “Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather, follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.”

    ~ Franz Kafka

    I do really appreciate your liking, linking to and/or following this blog (and “writing in”), so “thanks for the thanx”

    “As we live and move and have our being, so from this vision, we create heaven in our own lives… and perhaps even heaven on earth.”
    – craig (as inspired by Acts 17:28 and the words of Felicia Searcy)

    “Aim at the earth and you may not get off the ground.a
    “Aim at the stars and you may reach the moon.”
    “Aim at heaven and you’ll have earth thrown in…
    and you may even hit the stars.”
    – craig (as inspired by the famous quote by CS Lewis – 24th May 2012)

    “When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”
    – Leonardo da Vinci

    When (or if ever) you arrive in heaven, let faith, hope and love be the wings that carried you there.”

    – as adapted from the inspiring words of Jonathan Edwards, former minister in New England, Massachusetts

    “The Greatest Race: Living by (with) faith, hope and love is the highest podium any person can reach, God’s podium that anyone stand on.”
    – c

    “Having pursued the goals, the dreams set before us and run the race with persistence and endurance, after giving it all. Then one day standing on the summit of life, breathing in the pure sweet oxygen of achievement, totally satisfied in running the greatest race, the race of life one that ANYONE can run and win.”

    from http://racetothechequeredflag.wordpress.com/
    and http://www.godandformula1.wordpress.com

    “If a man is called to be a street-sweeper,
    he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted,
    or Beethoven composed music, or
    Shakespeare wrote poetry.
    He should sweep streets so well
    that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say,
    here lived a great street sweeper
    who did his job well.”
    – Dr Martin Luther King, Jr.

    PPS
    Instead of trying to reply to each one of you, I’ll just keep on writing

    “If the doctor told me I had six minutes to live, I’d type a little faster.”

    The various books* that Craig “felt inspired to write” are available at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B005GGMAW4

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B005GGMAW4

    http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=la_B005GGMAW4_sr?rh=i%3Abooks&field-author=Craig+Lock

    https://www.createspace.com/pub/simplesitesearch.search.do?sitesearch_query=%22craig+lock%22&sitesearch_type=STORE

    http://www.creativekiwis.com/index.php/books
    and http://goo.gl/vTpjk

    All proceeds go to needy and underprivileged children –
    MINE!

    “When the writer is no more , the value of your purchase will soar! ”

    Don’t worry about the world ending today…
    as it’s already tomorrow in scenic and tranquil ‘little’ New Zealand

    PPS

    “I wish you well on a rainy day
    I wish you rainbows to brighten your day
    To feel your quiet moments with a special kind of warmth
    to remind you that happiness can happen
    when you least expect it.

    I wish you rainbows to make you laugh and smile
    to show you the simple beauty of life
    and to give you the magic of dreams come true.

    I wish you rainbows
    I wish you well.”

    – Larry S. Chengges

    ”Since I can never see your face,
    And never shake you by the hand,
    I send my soul through time and space
    To greet you. You will understand.”

    – James Elroy Flecker (1884-1915)

    Like

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