By Jana-Mari Smith
Work of Our Hands is a project that was started in order to create jobs for disadvantaged and unemployed women in Namibia.
The project began in 2003 in the Five Rand informal settlement in Okahandja and currently supports 13 women.
The basis for the project is to teach a variety of skills to these women, in order to help them create a vital income stream. One of these skills is the art of making jewellery from beads and wire, which are then sold at the Work of our Hands stall at the Namibia Craft Centre.
The stall displays a beautiful selection of jewellery using ceramic beads. The beads are interwoven with wire to create “crocheted jewellery”. The ceramic beads are hand-made by the women.
It was Valarie Garber, a US citizen, who kick-started the project. The project is non-profit organization that serves to support Namibian women who are struggling to support their families. Valerie explained that every cent made by the project is for the benefit of the women, enabling to pay for raw materials, rent, sales staff, and ultimately, the women themselves. These days the project supports disadvantaged women hailing from both Five Rand camp and Nau Aib.
The Work of our Hands project not only focuses on teaching women skills with which to create a source of income, but also addresses educational and spiritual needs of the participants. The goal ultimately is to create independent entrepreneurs who are able to successfully conduct small business enterprises.
Anyone wishing to visit the studio is more than welcome. Visits are arranged per appointment. Visit http://workofourhands.blogspot.com/ for more information.