In 2003, American citizen Valerie Garber started a non-profit organisation for disadvantaged women in Five Rand, an informal settlement of Okahandja, Namibia. The project has a literal name, ‘Work of Our Hands’ and currently supports 13 women with skills transfer and craft education.
The women participating in the project are taught a variety of skills, among others the art of making jewellery using wire and beads. Intriguingly, the women ‘crochet’ the wire to make attractive, durable adornments for the wrist and the neckline, in colours and hues compatible with the most sophisticated of wardrobes. The ceramic beads used to make the jewellery, earrings in particular, are also handmade by the women of the project making every item a unique piece of art.
The women of ‘Work of Our Hands’ take pride in their creations; every handmade item of jewellery is accompanied by the name and a small photograph of its creator, adding dimension to the beautiful items, handmade by disadvantaged women in informal settlements in Namibia. Recently, women from the Nau Aib informal settlement, Okahandja, also joined the ‘Work of Our Hands’ project.
The income generated by sales of the jewellery benefits the disadvantaged women involved in the project, to purchase raw materials, pay rents and sales staff. The ultimate purpose of the project however, is to create and nurture independent entrepreneurs.