Community

Bling and beads bring benefits

Left to Right, Cocaya, Mariselena from Shiriksiha Kilimanjaro workshop and Shannan Brown show some of the beautiful beaded purses that the workshop produces. Shannan was on hand to donate beads from Canada that will offset the cost of production. Mariselena and other Tanzanians with a hearing disability produce qualilty products from local fabrics for the tourist market. - Photo submitted
Left to Right, Cocaya, Mariselena from Shiriksiha Kilimanjaro workshop and Shannan Brown show some of the beautiful beaded purses that the workshop produces. Shannan was on hand to donate beads from Canada that will offset the cost of production. Mariselena and other Tanzanians with a hearing disability produce qualilty products from local fabrics for the tourist market.
— image credit: Photo submitted

Campbell River and Courtenay rose to the challenge to recycle its costume jewellery.

Back in August, Shannan Brown asked the communities to help her gather pounds of the jewellery to benefit African women. They didn’t disappoint. This year over 200 pounds of jewellery and beads was collected.

The bracelets, earrings, necklaces, etc were gathered sorted then shipped to Tanzania where they are being sold in the marketplace. The local women have a great interest and desire for fashion items from the west.

“The women in Tanzania don’t always have the same taste as we do which means the items we least desire are the ones they most want. A good match for recycling and resale as our tastes change.” says Brown.

In 2012, all the funds raised benefit two projects. The first project will continue providing business training and grants to more women entrepreneurs in Moshi Tanzania. This project is a  success as seven women have already received new businesses. The second half of the donated goods will be used to help a new daycare that integrates orphans with other children in a highly engaging and modern facility.

In amongst the costume jewellery were several pounds of beads which needed to find a home. Brown found a perfect use for them. On a backroad in Moshi is a small workshop called Shirikisha Kilimanjaro. The workshop provides training and employment for men and women with hearing disabilities. They produce practical and beautiful products for tourists out of the colourful Tanzanian fabrics. Some of the products such as purses or yoga bags have delicate bead work or toggles for closures. The beads were donated to encourage their creativity and offset the costs of producing the goods.

Shannan is currently in Moshi Tanzania as a Fellow with Royal Roads University. It is her third trip to the area where she volunteers her time to consult on building businesses for rural women. With support from the university and local sponsors she is able to provide the training and grants to move the women from start-up to sustainability.

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