“The day Valerie came into our store and bought up an incredible amount of necklaces is a day no one here will forget. Valerie’s regular orders for beads allow the crafters to earn a sustainable income with most crafters supporting about 10 family members. Valerie’s requests for unusual colour combinations have helped us develop our confidence…her orders are making an incredible difference to crafters most in need.” Paula, Craft Coordinator, Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust.

woza-moya-beadersThe Zulu nation is renown for their stunningly beautiful beadwork and highly skilled beaders. I found much to excite me when I visited this centre. The unique, contemporary Zulu beaded jewelry is some of the most unusual I’ve found in S.A. The women are well paid for their beadwork which is vital income for the crafters associated with the HIV/AIDS Center. The bead makers support their families on their beadwork and this income filters into the community and helps many more. I had a tour of the food bank, clothing bank, the veggie garden, plant nursery of indigenous plants and the newly built hospice – a serene building where AIDS patients are treated with great care and love. I met up with an old quilting pal of mine, Colleen, who works there once a week training some women in the art of quilting. The entire place is infused with gentle respect, love and enthusiastic makers. There are 300 artisans registered with the bead making project creating their sole income and putting food on the table in hundreds of households. Many of the bead makers support 10 or more people.

Watch this beautiful short video of one of the Grandmothers who is supported through the Centre.This video is courtesy of the Stephen Lewis Foundation.

The Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust is a faith-based ministry that has grown to become a multi-faceted HIV/AIDS project. It receives some funding from the Stephen Lewis Foundation. This ministry attempts to address the impact of the devastating HIV/AIDS pandemic in a practical and holistic way. The mission of the organization is and always has been to show unconditional love to all infected and affected by HIV/AIDS in a practical way. In the course of the Center’s work in the field, it became evident that they had to address people’s basic needs and create employment to “put food on the table”. Many HIV positive people were developing to full blown AIDS sooner because of malnutrition and poverty.