From crafts to masks

South Africa. What do you do when there are no guests to buy your crafts? Turn your talents to a COVID necessity…

May 2020

Sometimes clichés have their place: Necessity is said to be the mother of invention, and for this group of women, their pivot from crafts to masks has been their saving grace.

Who are the Ku-Humelala Craft Group? They’re a sisterhood of 15 craftswomen, whose small business development has been supported by the ACA (Artisans and Crafter Africa) Job Creation Programme. This powerful initiative is a partnership between Africa Foundation (equipment and infrastructure) and Global Gift Innovators (training), with dual funding through the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation Endowment and Africa Foundation donors.


15 Members | 65 dependants | 80 impacted individuals

A quick overview of this group reveals that of the 15, nine (60%) have had their husbands’ income either cut by 50% or lost completely due to the pandemic; for the other six (40%) their husbands either had no income prior to COVID, or they are single mothers. Some of their children have also lost their jobs, or seen a significant reduction in income.

So who are the real people behind these facts and stats?

A Precious story

This may be the story of Precious, aged 30, pregnant, with a little girl of 6, and whose husband has lost his income - but it could equally be the story of any one of these women.

Working at Ku-Humelala over the last year has enabled Precious to buy her daughter’s school uniform, food for the household and even put a little money away. This was before COVID-19. Now, she is the sole bread winner for the family.

Precious fears getting ill – the family simply could not afford this. Her pregnancy brings added concerns, as she explains you can wait forever in the clinic queues for check-ups.

What does this new opportunity to make masks and bags mean for her? The relief at being able to continue working is huge – she feels safe again, but more than that, she has renewed hope.

So when you support this project, your donation carries with it not only financial support, but also the gift of a future.



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