PRESS RELEASE A COMMUNITY EMPOWERED BY BEADS AND PAPER 01 August 2008 This is the second year that Woolworths has offered beautiful beaded rings which have been handcrafted by the women of Iziko Lo Lwazi, a non-profit organisation in Hout Bay dedicated to empowering women through training and employment. The project, the brainchild of Jean Fairhead (who continues to guide it), started as an adult literacy programme offering free English lessons to the women of the Imizamo Yethu informal settlement in 2001. As education is a luxury when families need food, the facilitators looked for projects that could help the women earn while they learned. With natural materials and waste paper readily available, and only minimal equipment required, papermaking was a logical choice. Their first product was paper made by hand using natural materials such as river reed, seaweed, rooibos tea, horse dung and camel dung, and produced using basic tools including a tin bath and a pounding stick. A grant from the U.S. government in 2003 facilitated a move to the better equipped premises on the grounds of the Hout Bay Community Centre. Beadwork was added to their product list. In addition to the training they have received in papermaking and beading, the women of Iziko Lo Lwazi have participated in business skills courses, seminars on HIV/AIDS, nutrition, child care, emotional health and regular literacy classes. Today, between 12 and 16 women work at Iziko Lo Lwazi, supporting some 65 people. In addition to being sold locally – including the rings and soul babies produced for Woolworths – their beaded jewellery, hand-made paper and gifts are exported. Each of these rings is far more than a unique piece of African craftwork – it is an important step in building a sustainable, economically empowered community. ENDS Issued on behalf of: Woolworths Issued by: liquidlingo Communications Contact: Monique Postema / Jackie Busch +27 21 424 1530