UMTHA

Wat zijn we met Townshipsmile trots dat we als enige serieuze partij in Nederland en België een samenwerking zijn aangegaan met Umtha. Hun bijzondere sieraden zijn een belangrijk onderdeel van onze collectie. Umtha is een persoonlijk atelier uit Kaapstad met mooie mensen die hierdoor arbeidskansen hebben gekregen om een toekomst op te bouwen.

In 1992 kocht Dave Milligan, eigenaar van Umtha, wat kralen in een lokale winkel. Hij was werkeloos en thuis freubelde hij de kralen tot een mooi sieraad voor zijn vrouw Cheryl die het prachtig vond. Samen ontdekten ze de vraag naar bijzondere, handgemaakte en betaalbare sieraden en maakten gelimiteerde oplagen die ze verkochten op plaatselijke markten en aan enkele winkels.

In 1996 ontmoetten Dave en Cheryl Jostina Dubase, zij woonde in een opvangtehuis voor vrouwen in moeilijke omstandigheden. Jostina wilde niets liever dan een baan. Die werd haar door Umtha aangeboden, en met succes.

Hiermee sloegen Dave en Cheryl een nieuwe weg in, ze wilden werk en daardoor een toekomst creëren voor laag geschoolde en achtergestelde mensen uit de townships rondom Kaapstad. Inmiddels werken er 15 mensen in het atelier van Umtha.

Umtha is officieel goedgekeurd door de COFTA (Coöperatie voor Fair trade in Afrika) en de WFTO (World Fair trade Organisation).

Lees hieronder de persoonlijke introducties van de makers.

Phumela Maninjwa
“I started working at Umtha in the holidays when I was a learner. I have three kids. I enjoy working at Umtha and I’m proud of the beautiful jewellery I make.”

Thenjiwe Bedi
“I have worked at Umtha for 18 years. I have raised two sons (one died), and Umtha has helped me build my house and send my son to College.”

Nonceba Malgas
“I have been working at Umtha for 16 years. I was unemployed before working at Umtha, and I have raised two children until University. I learned here a lot of skills.”

Noziphiwo Racaza
“I have been working at Umtha for eight years now. I have three children. Making jokes with my colleagues is what I like! Nozi loves work at Umtha, where she has gained a lot of experience. Her sister worked for Umtha and went on to work in adult education.”

Nana Misengabo
Nana Misengabo is from DRC (Democratische republiek Congo) and is very happy to be working at Umtha, because it helps her to put food on the table and her family benefits a lot. Nana is the breadwinner in her household, as are most of the women at Umtha. “We are all like family at Umtha”, says Nana.

Tabisa France
She started work at Umtha in 1999 while she was at school. She is grateful for the support Umtha gave her when she lost her 6-weeks baby girl to pneumonia. Her boy toddler is called Buhle (which means Beautiful in Xhosa). Through many things in my life, God was there for me. I’m looking forward to the time I can buy a plasma TV.

“I love my work as it keeps me away from doing something bad. It is nice to be here at the department, to be with others. I work hard for my money and am proud to be able to pay for school fees for my boy and food for my old parents and younger brother and sister.”

Paula Joao
“I’m from Angola, so when I arrived in South Africa I was a refugee. Because I work at Umtha, I can provide for my family and save money. I’m not rich, but I have something because of Umtha. I am who I am today because of this work and people, and Umtha helped me to get a work permit, so I’m not a refugee anymore.”

Luxolo Dubase
“I am a black man living in one of Cape Town’s disadvantaged areas called Khayelitsha. Once I was unemployed and life was very difficult. Now that I am employed at Umtha, joy has filled my heart because I can now purchase anything I desire. I would be deserving no mercy from God if I didn’t appreciate what He has given me, including the employment I have at Umtha.”