A little while back, we wrote about how buying a Qhubeka bicycle bracelet for R40 helps to put people on bicycles, changing their lives by giving them access to mobility and opportunity. But these bracelets have also changed the lives of the women who make them for Qhubeka. Read on to find out how…
In South Africa’s North West Province, in the rural Marico region, the main employment opportunities are in the agricultural industry. With South Africa’s recent 50% increase in the basic wage for farm workers, however, many farmers have reduced their staff complement to the bare minimum.
The Madikwe Rural Development Programme (MRDP), founded in 1988, aims to support the Madikwe community, and the new MRDP Beading Project has provided employment for around 20 women, including a core group comprising: Betty Tshubi, Carolin Mulau, Dipuo Pholo, Keitumetse Memane, Kelbogile Phakwe, Margaret Molefi, Motlalepule Mapakela, Norah Mogorosi, Rebecca Maboi and Rose Phege.
According to Colin Cooper, at current levels of production, the beaders are earning more than their husbands who are earning minimum wage, with the best beader earning more than double. More women would like to join the project, and MRDP would like to expand production if demand allows it.
“Unlike in the cities, here in the Marico there is no work and virtually no chance of any new businesses opening up,” says Colin. “This is the only opportunity for earning a real income and the women are extremely grateful to showcase their skills.”
Support Qhubeka and the MRDP Beading Project by buying a Qhubeka bracelet (or more than one) through Cycle Force or, if you live in South Africa, at your nearest Exclusive Books or Look & Listen or CNA store.