The Homestead's work,
to keep children within their families and try to re-unite
street children who have left their families is made difficult
by the grinding poverty of their daily lives. Despite efforts
to mediate the child's return home, in many cases this is
short-lived because of the family's inability to meet the
child's most basic needs. This causes him to drift back on
to the street. There is no food at home. It is as simple as
Ubunye Beadworks aims to address this challenge by
offering a skills training project for women - mothers, aunts
and sisters of the children in our projects. The beadwork
project forms part of the holistic approach to tackling the
root problems facing families and children. Ubunye helps to
alleviate poverty and improve the coping mechanisms of mothers.
The project enables the women to earn a weekly income so that
they can provide for their children's basic needs. The women
also develop job skills and self-esteem. For many of them,
this is their first experience of holding a job and taking
responsibility for themselves and their children.
The profile of Ubunye's participants shows that:
*Two-thirds of the women
have not completed school beyond grade 9, and many have only
completed primary schooling
* The majority are single
*They struggle to survive
on child support grants as they are unable to find employment
due to their lack of skills and experience
*They are often supporting
elderly parents, brothers and other relatives who are also
*Many are HIV positive
*Most of them are backyard
dwellers - Ubunye helps them to erect wooden wendy houses
via a revolving loan from the project.
The job creation project incorporates women
from Manenberg, Delft, Guguletu, Wesbank, Khayelitsha and
Nyanga. Some of the women work at the workshop in central
Cape Town, whilst others who have very young children and
cannot afford crèche fees work from home, and bring in the
finished products weekly. They are paid per item made.
The voices of the women themselves tell us that the project
is achieving its objectives. This is what they had to say
about why they attend the project:
*I am the only provider
in our house and support my family
*As a single parent,
it really helps me to support my children
*It motivates me and
teaches me to be an independent woman
*It helps me and my
child to survive
*It releases my stress
*It makes me happy to
*It gives me self-confidence
These comments make it clear that as well as providing an
income the project provides emotional support, a safe and
calm space, and a place in which to develop self-esteem. Personal
development is one of the core functions of the programme.
The women receive life skills training in nutrition and wellness,
healthy but inexpensive diet, saving on a limited budget,
appropriate nutrition for those on antiretroviral treatment,
growing vegetables in containers, and good parenting skills.
They are also taught work readiness and skills for shop assistants.
We help them with housing, and even getting false teeth in
order to improve their chances of finding open employment.
Ubunye gives the women a chance in life that they have
never had before.