Positive Beadwork Project
Kidz Positive’s ‘Positive Beadwork Project’ is a job creation initiative for mothers and caregivers of HIV impacted families. Women are trained in the skills of loom beading and traditional beading techniques, to create beaded products marketed mainly as ‘corporate gifts with a conscience’.
Our artists enjoy a weekly income they can depend on and as they work from home, they can care for their dependents while earning. We welcome new ‘recruits’ who are taught beadwork skills by our most skilled bead worker.
Supporting a community
We currently support about 45 mothers, each of whom supports, on average, 7 family members. Three of them support as many as 13 dependents. Members of the project meet twice a week for work-related purposes and benefit from a natural social support network.
We make a difference – Kidz Positive has a positive impacts peoples’ lives in five areas.
Health – we make sure that the ladies attend their hospital and clinic appointments regularly. Our short-term goal is to make life more bearable for all who attend the project. Our long-term ideal is to provide adult education, in-service training, early childhood development instruction and advice, as well as whatever ad hoc developmental projects we can fund to help promote adolescent resilience.
Empowering women through income-generation promotes financial stability. The woman who puts food on the family table supports the health and optimal development of her children. Regular meetings with other beadworkers presents an opportunity to share her burden with her peers, to the great benefit of all.
Family preservation - Our ultimate goal is to optimise opportunities for children affected by HIV/Aids in South Africa. The most important challenge is to stabilise and sustain the family as a platform to provide financial security, and to provide a platform from which to promote optimal early childhood development.
Early childhood development (ECD) – As part of our adult education initiative we raise awareness of the importance of ECD. We enable mothers to support this vitally important aspect of their children’s education and development at home. Implementing ECD for the children as a Kidz Positive project will give us the opportunity to train the mothers as part of an ongoing programme they can continue at home.
Training - We have worked closely with the Grow Education centre trainers to design courses and workshops on time management, early childhood development, positive behaviour, as well as how to manage finances. Mothers receive certificates to mark their completion of each course. One of the first bead working mother started attending college and subsequently completed her tertiary education.
Our programmes and projects overlap on many levels, but have the common goal of facilitating improved physical and psychological health and development of the HIV-infected child toward a healthy, resilient adolescence and adulthood.
Where it all began
The Kidzpositive Family Fund (KFF) was founded in 2001 by a group of healthcare professionals at Groote Schuur Hospital, headed up by Dr Paul Roux. They established a service dedicated solely to the care of children with HIV/AIDS, but was soon clear that the burden of the mother of an HIV-positive child was impossible to bear. Medical care alone would never be enough to address the pressing challenges facing HIV-affected families. To meet these challenges the Kidzpositive Family Fund was established, as a Non-profit NGO’ to raise support for the daily needs of these families. Sadly, in late 2015, owing to financial unsustainability, the Kidzpositive Board was forced to discontinue its programmes and retrench all staff. Beatrice Delpierre, a long-term kidzpositive client took the project under her wing.
Your design partner
From humble beginnings, making simple AIDS pins and flags, we can now produce complex, customised designs by the thousands, all subject to the highest quality standards. Our largest order to date was a single order of 13 000 beaded aids pins for the Levi Strauss Foundation.
None of this would be possible without the support of wonderful partners. During off-season, when orders can be scarce, we are available for big projects where we partner with like-minded organisations. We don’t want hand-outs from our clients since that would not be sustainable, but would rather work shoulder to shoulder with our clients. With many of them we have forged long-term relationships, like the one with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which began well over 10 years ago. The quality of the beadwork aside, they value the integrity of the project. We are also in our third year of a visual merchandise upcycling project for Woolworths’ Holiday Season window display, in conjunction with essay GIFTS. For the latter we did our bit for the planter by upcycling more than 10 000 plastic items in one go.
In 2005, the Positive Beadwork project received an Impumelelo Innovation Award in recognition of its successful efforts to reduce poverty.
At the end of 2019, Kidz Positive won the Social Enterprise category of The Western Cape Entrepreneurship Recognition Awards Competition. This competition recognises the achievements and potential of entrepreneurs in the Western Cape and supports the creation of opportunities by small and medium businesses.