Hoodies, bangles, beaded necklaces, earrings and shopping bags are among the items Grahamstown will soon be able to buy from a new craft project.
Community activist Michael Robin Wynne, dubbed ‘Batman’, has started the project in partnership with Masivuke Day Care Centre for Adults with Disabilities. The centre serves adults with mental and physical disabilities.
Masivuke project leader Boniwe Caroline Ncalezi, along with a group of volunteers, provides a productive base for Grahamstown’s disabled people. Three times a week they meet to learn new skills, and create the crafts Grahamstown’s public wants to buy. The aim, Wynne explained, was to teach them skills they can use to make an income and be independent in some ways.
Hoodies, bangles, beaded necklaces, earrings and shopping bags are some of the products they plan to make and sell.
“It can be quite slow, because our crafters do tend to get bored on the piece they were working on and start a new one.”
But that can have some interesting results.
“Another person would then pick up the work they left and finish it off without knowing what the end result would be.”
Wynne says when something goes right, you can see the crafters’ confidence growing.
An NGO has sponsored sewing machines to which the crafters should soon graduate.
“Fifty percent of the money made from selling an item will go to Masivuke and the other 50% will go in cash to the person who made it,” Wynne said. “The project is not just for money. It is there to give the participants a sense of pride.”
Wynne’s marketing plan is to auction the items through live online video. Not only would this allow people to pay the price they want, but it would also alert businesses to what’s on offer. Wynne will announce the dates of these auctions.