GHANZI: Window of Hope is a non-government organisation created by Pastor Kuhuandi and his wife.
Based in Ghanzi it is mandated to care for orphans and street children, provide them with three meals a day, and offer them teaching services daily.
The centre also has a paper beadwork project, which started with 12 women in 2010.
According to Neo Setinye, a volunteer at the centre, the women in the project are caregivers to the orphans.
“This project is mainly based on use of paper to make jewellery. We have this group of women who use old newspapers, cardboard boxes, magazines, manila paper and anything made of paper. We get some of our materials from Jet Stores, while others we scout around for,” explained Setinye.
The Social and Community Development (S&CD) sent the women for a rigorous one-week bead making training session in collaboration with Mothers of Hope.
Apart from paper, Setinye said that they also use glue, fish line, glass beads and a ruler among other things.
She said they make bracelets, earrings, necklaces and belts from the paper. The whole idea, she said, is to empower the unemployed women.
She explained that they first cut the paper into strips, which differ in length.
“We use 1cm, 1.5cm, 2cm, 2.5cm and 3cm strips. We roll the strips to the required length and shape, thereafter use the fish line to join the shapes together and dip them in the varnish and leave them to dry for an hour,” she said.
She said sometimes drying takes longer, especially if it is on a cloudy day. She added that the whole process can take up to half a day.
The job also requires creativity for someone to come up with different shapes or patterns. After making their products, the women sell them in order to sustain their families.
She, however, said making the jewellery needs patience. This is evident in the numbers of women they now have at the centre. From the 12 women they started with, they are now only left with six as the others left.
Setinye further said that Mothers of Hope and Somarelang Tikologo are their greatest supporters.
She, however, expressed disappointment at the general lack of support from the public.
“Our products are expensive because some of the materials that we use are expensive, especially the glue and varnish. Also the glass beads we buy all the way from Gaborone,” she said, adding that what buoys the cost of the jewellery is that they have to pay for their own raw materials.
The women have attended the Gantsi Show as well as mini ones organised by S&CD to showcase their products. Setinye said that she attended the Women’s Expo recently. Though she did not win, she learnt a lot.
“It’s unfortunate that the Market Day, which used to be held in Ghanzi is no longer there. We used to attend it in order to market our products,” Setinye said.
Some of the major challenges that the women face by and large include lack of a thriving market. They also struggle to find raw materials except for the papers that are readily available, she said.
The materials, she said, are also expensive, especially the varnish.
Because the women make the jewellery from home they normally get assistance from Window of Hope to cover the costs of the raw materials when need arises.