Once they were unemployed, but now they are crafters who are already receiving orders from local and international markets.
The 32 crafters, from Matsulu in Mpumalanga, are benefiting from a R500 000 training grant from the Department of Rural Development and Land Reform.
“I never thought I would be able to have a business and make money out of things I created with my own hands,” says one student Delisiwe Thabethe (30).
“A lot of people are complaining about being unemployed, but if they had some skills, it could open a lot of doors for them. The skills that we are obtaining here, no one will take away from us,” she said.
She said the project already has orders from local and international markets.
The group is being mentored by Maniza Nxele, owner of the Mninizo Art and Craft in Durban, whose company has helped train more than 2000 people across South Africa since 2010.
“At first it’s a challenge to train people because they don’t understand the concept of crafting. Most people expect money but we teach them to make money out of their hands. It is good to see young people being patient about art crafting,” said Nxele.
The training started in August this year and runs through to the end of November. The grant includes training, food, transport, accommodation and materials for their art work.
The crafters are learning to make beaded and woven jewellery, bowls and cups and hats.
Department spokesperson Zithini Dlamini said gaining skills is an important step towards meaningful participation in the economy.
“Empowering local youths with the skills in arts and craft would allow them contribute to the local economy. Through their resourcefulness and support from the department, the youth can source the raw materials on their own and do the marketing for their own account in the future,” Dlamini said.