Bambanani, in SiSwati, means “holding hands” or “supporting one another.” It is an appropriate name for this project for two reasons: (1) the crafts created by each participant will be made by hand using locally sourced materials, and (2) the groups formed by the project will provide a social and emotional support network for the women involved.
The goal of the Bambanani project is to empower 100 HIV-affected women in the Shiselweni region by providing them with business and handicraft skills training, education on health and sexual rights, and a forum for the discussion of relevant poverty-related issues over a period of 24 months. More specifically, the Bambanani project’s objectives are:
1. To provide training on entrepreneurship and small business management to at least 100 women affected by HIV in the Shiselweni region;
2. To provide at least 100 women with skills training in both traditional and non-traditional handicrafts;
3. To create a network of 5 Bambanani groups to provide emotional, spiritual and psychosocial support for HIV-positive women or those affected by HIV/AIDS;
4. To make the artisans aware of local resources that can provide additional support; and
5. To find suitable, sustainable markets for the types of handicrafts produced by the Bambanani project so that the group members will have a reliable source of income with which they can support themselves and their families.
Though the focus of the Bambanani project is to benefit disadvantaged women, Caring for Shiselweni, Pasture Valley and Shiselweni Reformed Church Home Based Care also recognize the importance of including particularly disadvantaged men in the project.
The locations of the various groups and the products made by each group are:
• paper bead necklaces,
• Embroidered clothe bags
• pencil cases,
• e-reader bags,
• iPad bags
• colourful sisal earrings
• Pressed flower greeting cards
• Animal sewn cards
• Hair bands
• Crochet clothe bags
• Recycled plastic bags
• Crochet shoes
• Children’s dresses
• Embroidery bags
• Clutch bags and pencil cases