Women empowered through art

2015-10-21 06:00
PICTURED are the women after completion of their decoupage, which is an art form or technique of decorating something with cut-outs of paper, linoleum, plastic or other flat material over which varnish or laquer is applied. In the middle of the middl

PICTURED are the women after completion of their decoupage, which is an art form or technique of decorating something with cut-outs of paper, linoleum, plastic or other flat material over which varnish or laquer is applied. In the middle of the middl

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THERE is still a sense of hope that Richie’s women and children can fight the scourge of unemployment through arts and crafts using recycled items.

The women are expected to use their skills to empower themselves after completion of a three-day crafts workshop in Richie, thanks to a local church, Late Harvest Ministries.

The workshop was facilitated by Naola de Ruiters, a community developer who relocated to Bloemfontein from Cape Town earlier this year.

The programme, which was attended by 20 women and two girls from the community, was organised by the church in an effort to fight poverty and unemployment, which is a huge problem in the Richie community.

The workshop had been the dream of the pastor’s wife, Irene Farland, who for the past six years has wanted to see women in her community rise above their circumstances and get out of their comfort zone.

“I can’t shake off the feeling that we are not doing enough to fight poverty. I realised that skills training would be the answer,” said Farland, who is also a primary school teacher.

According to De Ruiters, her role was to teach and to train the trainers so that they could teach the other people in the community of Richie.

She said that she had been invited by Farland to present the workshops after hearing about her community development programme. They also availed their church facilities for this event.

De Ruiters said all the women had absolutely no previous experience, nor exposure to any form of art.

According to Farland, they started from scratch. “All we had to bring was the recycled material, while our facilitator came with everything,” said Farland.

The women were taught fabric painting, how to do decoupage and were introduced to the world of card-making and scrapbooking during the three days.

Although the women were awarded their beginners’ certificates, they pledged to continue training on a monthly basis to sharpen their skills while waiting for approval of their stall.

The aim is to open a stall on the N12 Road to sell their creations and make a living out of it.

According to De Ruiters, it was a real pleasure to work with the women as they were very positive and full of enthusiasm.

“It was an opportunity for me to share my skills and talents with them.

“My focus and goal is to equip unemployed women in communities, so that they can discover their full potential and hidden talents. I firmly believe they can.”

She added that the workshop would definitely have a positive impact on the women’s lives as she also emphasised the importance of becoming an entrepreneur to them in their community.

“What they have learnt can be put into rands and cents and can put bread on the table. It was very well received and it was really an eye-opener for most of them, because now they have a sense of belonging and selfworth, something they can call their own and say: ‘I have made this. It is my creation I have made from scratch.’

“Although this was an introductory workshop, theirs were some of the projects that required more skills, but they did well.

“The joy and pride were so rewarding as they received their certificates.

“So, by saying yes, their lives were indeed impacted positively. We plan to have more workshops in the near future. This was just the beginning.”

De Ruiters avails her services for any community development work and can be contacted on 082-223-4044 or emailed at naoladr@gmail.com

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