In Sepedi (the local language) the word “Basadi” stands for “women”. And that’s exactly what Tshega’s eponymous project is about: strengthening the local woman. Tshega’s homepage says:
‘Rural women, who constitute one-fourth of the world’s population, continue to face more difficulty than men in accessing public services, social protection, employment and markets, due to cultural norms, security issues and lack of identification documents. These women have not enjoyed the privilege of skills development and quality education resulting in unemployment that is staggering. […] Educating these women’s would also mean that a large gender gap in their access to decision making and leadership can be curtailed. Women are mostly care takers; they look after children, relatives, prepare meals and manage homes within the rural village environment. Added to these tasks they spend long hours collecting water and firewood. Despite these responsibilities women have significantly less access to resources and service they need to increase their productivity and their income. We are focused on the theme of empowerment of rural women and their role in poverty and hunger eradication and sustainable development. Tshega believes that investing in these women can generate significant improvements and food security. The empowerment of women and opportunities are fundamental in reducing poverty and hunger.
The Women’s Project, Basadi will therefore strive to improve conditions of living and create employment opportunities for these women for selected vulnerable families.’
Basadi was founded by Tshega in 2013 and when I visited the project for the first time in 2015, there were three ladies from Fobeni who had a job there. There are already eight today. Whenever I enter her workshop, I feel joy and team spirit. The ladies are very happy about their newly learned skills and always try to get new skills. So they can also voluntarily participate in courses in which they subsequently treat school topics such as grammar.
I find it great that each finished single Basadi-piece carries a label with the photo of the “creator”. That gives a very personal touch to the product. Another special feature is the fact that the students of the Lighthouse Academy are also involved in the creative process. So the kiddies could paint different animals and the best drawings were chosen to act as templates for different Basadi pieces. A great idea that makes many children proud, because those are being mentioned (with name and foto) on the labels.
The ladies of the project have become true professionals in recent years, which has also attracted attention in the Kruger National Park. So you can buy recently selected works of art at different entrances of the Kruger National Park. Great products, great marketing, another successful story of Tshega, which has been making a profit for some time and has become a mainstay of the project.
Marina, the Lady in charge of Basadi, is currently looking the most to buy another sewing machine in order to increase productivity. I have to say: these devices aren’t cheap and yet Marina manages to get an unbeatable offer. For a “Mercedes Benz” (original sound marina) of the sewing business we get a discount of 3000 Rand, because we return a completely unusable sewing machine in order to take some spare parts from. This one can therefore be partly recycled and brings us this awesome discount. Instead of 13,999 Rand we pay only 10,999 Rand (about € 700, -) for a brand new “Mercedes Benz”. Dear Basadi, have fun with the new device.
Incidentally, my travel backpack is currently only half full. If I can bring you a beautiful piece of Basadi, so let me know. I am happy to make you happy and bring something for you.
You can take a look at the following Tshega link for a small selection of the Basadi offer. An own page with the complete offer is about to be published:
Addendum: My travel backpack has become full. Many great Basadi articles will now beautify the (pre-) Christmas time for many great people.