Needlework: Anusa ("Dignity")

Statement of Inspiration:

To uplift the community by establishing a self-sustaining needlework business which creates jobs and offers quality products to the community at a fair price and to raise up local leaders in our community.

In Namibia there is a very high rate of unemployment. Poverty is rife and besides that many young men and women are sick and dying – a direct effect of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

As we visited the caregivers of the children in our pre-school we were able to build good relationships with them. For a number of years, we provided food parcels to some of the very needy families, as well as emotional and spiritual assistance.

Because we believe in teaching people how to fish instead of handing out the fish, we then decided to start a small Needlework Project with a few ladies in order to help them to have a source of income so they themselves could provide food for their families instead of being dependent on others.

Typical African art and craft designs were incorporated into our hand embroidered work. Soon the project had many ladies that would meet and work at the Center. This gave the ladies a regular income.

For about two years we produced items for the European market, but we found that market to be saturated. This led us to do research into local markets, which showed a big demand for school uniforms in all the schools in Katutura. After our initial contact, all the school Principals were very enthusiastic about the idea of providing quality school uniforms, locally made for a better price.

At the moment we are producing school uniforms for 23 schools and this number is continuously growing. Besides that we produce tracksuits for choirs and corporate wear for local businesses. 13 formerly unemployed ladies and 1 men working fulltime in our small factory.

It is very rewarding to be able to offer work to these parents and in this way create a better living situation for the children. Instead of receiving food parcels, they are now able to go to the shops and buy their own food.