Sharing life experiences to promote understanding

2010-05-13 00:00

CRAFTERS in the Msunduzi area are being given the chance to refine their crafting skills, learn about product innovation and development, and learn new business and marketing skills thanks to the Tembalethu Trust.

The nonprofit organisation, which is based at 206 Burger Street, Pietermaritzburg, has been awarded Lottery funding to pay for the project, which will run from May this year to December 2011.

Kay Bhagwandhin, a spokesperson for Tembalethu, said the trainees would be mentored throughout the project, adding: “They will get training on how to refine their existing skills so they can produce more professional work. They will also learn the skills they need to create sustainable businesses and will have the chance to participate in craft trade shows.”

Beaders, sculptors, wood carvers, those who do embroidery and fabric work, and other crafters, are invited to attend an open week at Tembalethu from May 17 to May 21. They need to take samples of their work to be evaluated and will receive some basic skills training. Following an assessment by the trainer, 45 crafters will be selected to take part in the skills development programme.

Bhagwandhin said Tembalethu is also looking at helping crafters to sell their work via flea markets, craft stores and possibly even the Tembalethu Trust. “We’re not just training them and leaving them to fend for themselves,” she added.

Asked why the trust has chosen to undertake the craft skills programme, Bhagwandhin said: “In Pietermaritzburg there are always crafters around. There is a rich cultural heritage to it. So, as a means of contributing to that, Tembalethu decided to help the crafters.”

The training, which will start in June, will be facilitated by Tracey Collier of Sizani Craft in Durban. Trainees will spend one week, twice a month, at Tembalethu undergoing training in both Zulu and English. Collier will provide the materials and training resources, so all the crafters need to do is get to the trust.

Those interested in taking part should speak to Kay Bhagwandhin or Robert Madlala at 033 394 7807 or call at the Tembalethu offices at 206 Burger Street.

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