This is a story of creating change in volatile circumstances. In 2003 Jane Ashbry created Eco Art Crafts in Zimbabwe which partnered with women artisans learning the skills of paper making and paper-crafting to make products out of handmade paper. But then…
Shortly thereafter, the economy of Zimbabwe collapsed and with it public services, health care institutions, and schools. HIV was rampant. In 2007 the impact on the women became apparent; the average life expectancy for women dropped to 34 and the number of women without work in 2010 is over 90% of the population.
In 2007 Jane founded Eco Africa Social Ventures, a nonprofit corporation, who raises funds to provide essential support for the artisans and their families. A sister organization named Helping Hands for Africa helps to market and distribute the chic Eco African Papercraft.
Eco Africa Social Ventures continues to train Zimbabwean women in paper crafting skills and supports the Eco Africa School Fundraising Program that benefits both Eco Africa Social Ventures and participating schools.
Their mission includes the provision of food and care packages for the families as well as care for the artisans’ children, scholarships for school children, health counseling and clean water and sanitation within the communities.
The products are made from natural materials like beads and wire and come in varieties of forms that include: ornaments, notebooks, paper dolls, photo albums, small sculptures, and paper-craft card kits. And aren’t they gorgeous!
You can shop for these fabulous, handmade crafts here.