Fancy Stitch Womens Group

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Jabu MahlabaThe Fancy Stitch group is a self-help, income generation and skills development initiative amongst women living in the deep rural hamlet of Ingwavuma, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa and a supplier of high quality, artistic greeting cards, picture frames and clothing.

Fancy Stitch started with 27 members in September 2001 and has now grown to include more than 400 members. The dedication, talent and social and emotional connectedness amongst the members is impressive. All these characteristics, combined with a dynamic vision for the future, makes this an exciting and inspirational development initiative.

Ingwavuma is situated in the Lebombo mountains in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Focused around a small cluster of shops and amenities, the settlement lies scattered over a 60km radius and supports around 120 000 inhabitants. People survive through migrant labour, subsistence farming and government grants, often shared amongst entire households. Poverty is deeply rooted, and social problems like alcoholism and teenage pregnancy are widespread. Desperately, HIV infection rates amongst young women keep rising. The costs of HIV, the numerous funerals, and of caring for children orphaned by AIDS drain scarce household resources, deepening poverty further.

But there is also hope here. Witnessing the suffering and inspired by the vibrancy, Fancy Stitch holds five main objectives:

  • to create jobs for local people to alleviate poverty
  • to develop the skills of our members
  • to build the capacity of our organisation
  • to market our products
  • and to be an independent and thriving business.

Fancy Stitch is a business enterprise, with annually-audited financial statements. Equally we are a group of real people with real lives, and that’s what drives us. Each day’s work is powered by our aims to:

  • create beautiful products to a consistently high standard
  • encourage one another to have hope and a vision for the future
  • actively support vulnerable persons amongst us
  • and raise awareness of HIV\/AIDS and encourage positive living.

We grow by the grace of God.