… And a Happy New Year!!!

What a year 2013 has been – a lot of setbacks in my personal life, but a lot of progress for JARDS.

We trained 35 women in entrepreneurial skills this year and weaving.  In November we added another element to JARDS – Bakery, we taught 25 women who were sponsored by the Life Changers Ministries how to bake scones & breads and samoosas for sale.  My mom is a jack of all trades – not only does she teach how to weave (where i learnt my skill from) she also teaches cloth making, bakery, pig rearing as well as adult literacy.  We have another training set for 15th January.

We are just trying to see how we can pool our skills together – maybe the next step for us is establishing a skills development centre…

I have had a number of collaborations lately.  I will be conducting a training with Monika Visy who is a chartered accountant with Barclays Bank.  She set up a charity called Ba$e Budget and she is going to conduct trainings in four Cape Town, Johannesburg, Lilongwe & Nairobi.  I met her through One Young World.  She is a 2013 ambassador and although I did not attend it, she searched through the One Young World database to see who she can work with and voila – dream team :)!

I also recently collaborated with a very skilled young lady Maria Thundu to create these lovely handbags

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JARDS are making the hand bag handles and the Sweet Life are making the actual bag using local bright beautiful cloth.

And as icing to end the new year, I have been named by Under35CEO as #1 Most Promising Entrepreneur under 35 for Africa for 2013 – its a great recognition and I am sure the award will open exciting new doors for myself as well as for JARDS.

Cant wait to see what 2014 brings – I hope less the bad and more of the good :)

Best wishes to you all – lets make the most of the year!

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SUCCESSES!!!

September was quite busy with us promoting  baskets at fairs – I’ve been taking my girls along so they see not only how hard it is to make a sale – but also how fun a sale can be :)

At a point they even ‘chased’ me away from our stall and advised me to go and mingle as I was a pushover and kept giving discounts – and true enough they were able to sell the remaining baskets at the normal rate :).

1235181_10201467416141104_319515280_nThe J & R of JARDS Products

And then October jets in with a bang!

My venture, JARDS has received the prestigious One Young World Social Business Accelerator Grant! An award dedicated to recognizing outstanding young changemakers and supporting their activities around the world!

Professor Muhammad Yunus facilitated the Social Business Session and I wish I was there when they were announcing that we were receiving the grant – I would have had a picture with one of the people I admire so much!

The Father of Social Business

Prof. M Yunus – The Father of Social Business

They mention Jards minutes 33 – 34 – oh what sweet success!  Being recognised on such a platform is……………..I dont think I even have the words!

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DO SCHOOL PARTNERS WITH H&M TO CREATE GREEN STORES

DO SCHOOL PARTNERS WITH H&M TO CREATE GREEN STORES.

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DO SCHOOL PARTNERS WITH H&M TO CREATE GREEN STORES

Look at who’s just received press coverage – yup yours truly :)

The DO School (Formerly known as Dekeyser & Friends Academy) has teamed up with H & M on the Green Store Challenge, Its aimed at 18-28 year old social entrepreneurs and you can read more about this on their website www.thedoschool.org 

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Opportunities, Collaborations and much more…

August was quite a busy month for JARDS.  Malawi hosted the Heads of State of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) as well the the African Union (AU) Women’s Meeting.  The Ministry of Trade invited artisans to showcase their products at the SADC meeting while the Ministry of Gender invited female artisans to showcase their products at the AU meeting.

We got invited to showcase at BOTH meetings :)!  It was a week of showcasing our baskets and we also did sell quite a few – highlight was when the President of the Democratic Republic of Congo Joseph Kabila selected our stand as one of those he stopped at to ask questions.

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President J Kabila at the JARDS Stand at this years SADC Summit

We are also now on the right track with our exports to Cape Town.  Ashanti Design (www.ashantidesign.com) asked us to make a few products and one of our mats are already on their Facebook page and has garnered quite some interest… Have a look at the below

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Exciting times ahead!

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Where the magic happens…

Where the magic happens….

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Where the magic happens…

We are still trying to finish our workshop so that we are able to produce our products all year around as we are still working out in the open and production stops when it starts to rain, we are slowly getting there. But for the time being – the magic of JARDS Products happens under shaded trees…

We have had quite a hectic month and all hands are needed on deck. Its so cool when my kids play around with wicker – I remember learning how to weave from my mom when I was 14, my kids want to learn like NOW :)!!!

In Malawi pretty much all the artisans learn how to weave, carve or even painting from their parents or friends as there are no arts school here and these skills are passed on from one generation to another.

I learned from my mom, and I will pass this on to my kids in hope they will pass it on to theirs… DSC04455

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