Zodwa Ngcamphalala is a Swazi woman who lives in southeastern Swaziland and makes baskets for Gone Rural. Her husband, who lives in South Africa, is only able to visit Zodwa several times a year and so the income she generates weaving crafts allows Zodwa to pay for her children's school fees and to provide more nutritious food for her family. Not only that, but Zodwa also saved enough money from her work to start her own micro-enterprise offering solar-powered cell phone charging services to people in her community.
Ntombi Vilakazi is another woman who works with Gone Rural. Her father passed away when she was thirteen years old, and so instead of attending school she began working to support her family. Ntombi speaks on how her experience with Gone Rural has impacted her life:
Now that I am working with Gone Rural, I am able to afford the basics that are needed by my family. I feed them, cloth them and am responsible to give my children money for things they may need at school. I have money from orders we get at Gone Rural. My husband is happy with the work I do. My friends and community are proud of what we do and they see it as a good thing for the community that women are able to work for their children.
Zodwa and Ntombi are just two of the women working for Gone Rural. Often times, basket weaving is their only source of income and the women are supporting an average of eight children. The women use a traditional craft process, lutindzi grass weaving, to make baskets, mats, and other woven products.
Lutindzi grass is harvested high up in the granite mountains of Swaziland. Women collect the grass, and then dye the grass to color it and use a specially designed fuel-efficient wood-burning tank boiler to reduce the amount of wood they need. The women then work from their homes and villages to create intricate woven and plaited crafts like these:
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including placemats, candle holders, and baskets.