2006 Winner
Western Cape Province, South Africa
Impumelelo Innovation Award Trust
Impumelelo Innovation Award Trust
South Africa

Description: In June 2002 the Positive Beadwork Project (PBP) was created by the Kidzpositive Family Fund (NPO number 017-295), which is a group at Groote Schuur Hospital trying to relieve some of the burden placed on women caring for HIV+ children. The PBP was originally started with the help of a donation from St Cyprians school in Cape Town. PBP has 2 main aims: 1) provide an opportunity for income generation to the caregivers, to help them support their families; and 2) increase awareness (both locally and internationally) of the AIDS pandemic through the marketing of beadwork done by persons living with AIDS (PLWAs). Mothers or caregivers in this project are trained in beadwork, and then given weekly projects to complete. If the work is completed and of a high standard, they are paid for their work, and are given work for the next week. The PBP receives orders from a number of sites in South Africa, and internationally. They have an international School Network, where schools from the UK, Australia, Canada, Germany and Thailand order goods from the project, and sell them as part of an awareness-raising campaign. The mothers involved in the beading are also encouraged to attend bi-weekly on-site Support Group sessions. The project also aims to help establish similar projects at other sites throughout the country.

Innovation: The international schools network allows groups such as this to achieve international recognition. It also helps to spread awareness of the AIDS pandemic. The women are also paid on completion of their work, rather than at the end of the month. The Support Groups also provide emotional support to the mothers and caregivers.

Effectiveness: 96 women are currently involved in the project. Their work is sold in South Africa, and in numerous countries throughout the world (UK, Australia, USA, France, Germany, Croatia, Norway, Sweden, Thailand, Canada, Hong Kong, Spain and Russia.)

Poverty Impact: The average weekly income is R130, which adds up to R520 per month. Although this is not a massive amount, it does make a difference to those battling to support themselves and their families.

Sustainability: The money derived from sales is then used to cover the costs of raw materials and payment to the bead-workers. Thus, the project is self-sustainable.

Replication: The start-up required for a project like this is R4000. Once this has been secured, one of the main problems is persuading clinicians that income-generating opportunities are part of comprehensive health care. Another problem is that beadwork now has an HIV/AIDS "stigma" attached to it, and it is difficult to convince some mothers to become involved.