izandla zethu means in the isiXhosa language: our hands.
Our hands are made to move and create things.
"This thought has inspired me to create a project that gives young people the opportunity to learn crafting skills and thus make their own living.
After visiting the masifunde | CHANGEMAKER ACADEMY in Walmer Township, Port Elizabeth, I was so impressed with their work with children and youth in the township, that I wanted to realize that vision right here and with these people: Passing knowledge, skills and experience acquired over many years on to these young people, so they can earn money by working with their own hands."
Our team and how we work
"First, I wanted to find out in a jewellery course for interested young people, how much interest and talent there was among the young people . . . and was completely surprised by the sudden 'drive' our idea got. So in just a few weeks, we set up a small team, found rooms together with masifunde and started making jewels out of locally available materials. Almost at the same time, we built an online Shop, in which we offer the handmade products.
As the main material we use corrugated iron, which residents in South Africa's townships often use to build their huts. We shape and work with the corrugated iron, which basically symbolizes the poverty in these places and turn it into wonderful pieces of jewellery.
As an independent team, Luvuyo, Pamela, Vuyokazi and Quenny are now crafting necklaces, earrings, bracelets and key rings from these very special materials.
The team packs these handmade companions very creatively and sends each package with a personal greeting on their journey to the customers
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. . . we have built up such a wonderful team in no time and together we have designed a collection that we offer for sale and which has already received a lot of positive response . . . I'm actually a bit proud of that."
Beyond sustainable upcycling, this project sends out the message to young people to open their eyes to existing opportunities in their immediate environment, to use their own skills and to use them creatively instead of waiting for outside help from third parties.
izandla zethu - african jewellery is thus help for self-help. Your purchase of izandla zethu jewellery helps to combat youth unemployment in South Africa.
The volunteer team of the non-profit organization masifunde Bildungsförderung handles all finances for izandla zethu in Germany and guarantees that all sales turnover flows 100% to South Africa into the project.
Currently the turnover from the sale of the jewellery goes directly to the participating young people. If the demand grows, we will provide the further profit to masifunde for the training of additional young people.
"izandla zethu african jewellery was set up by me as a private person - supported by masifunde LEARNER DEVELOPMENT - as an idea giver and sponsor I act purely as a volunteer in this pro bono project.
I am particularly pleased that my idea has had the incredible opportunity to become part of masifunde's proven holistic educational programs."
In South Africa, the project is embedded in masifunde's support programs for unemployed youth (here's more: blog post). The team of motivated social workers ensures that the young people are looked after comprehensively.
Crafts Education Academy
If our idea continues to be so well received, we dream today of building a training center where we also transfer other craft and entrepreneurial skills, providing interested youth a springboard into the world of work . . .
But until then there is still a lot to do . . . : )