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Club Inspire

Crafting in Africa

Hi everyone - Michelle here from customer services...

I've just had the most amazing email sent into the office today from lovely lady called Letitia Matthews who has been working with communities in rural Africa teaching them to craft.

I just felt that we had to share it with you...

Hi Michelle, Hope you are well.

I just wanted to share with you what a blessing your Crafter's Companion Tools have been to two rural community skills projects that I have the privilege of serving with in South Africa.

For the past year, I have had the joy of facilitating skills outreach programmes in two under-privileged rural communities: Murchison and Mahlabatini in KZN, South Africa.  Members of these groups are women who face enormous challenges every day, not the least of which are unemployment, poverty, sickness and chronic hunger.   In addition, women in rural communities often have not had the benefit of education, but bear the full weight of responsibility in caring and providing for their families.  

For this reason, I have loved being part of this project and over the past 8 weeks, I have been especially excited about looking at basic recycling and techniques that can easily be used at home.  Bearing in mind that many homes do not have the luxury of electricity, this has been a creative journey that has challenged me and caused a paradigm shift for many of the ladies in our groups. Included in some of our sessions, were making your own boxes, envelopes, tags, ribbons and embossing.

I am a long time fan of the crafter's companion tools and started with the basic box and envelope models and then upgraded to the Ultimate Pro.  I donated my first one to the skills program and bring my own from home to help out, as one of our groups has 22 members and with only 3 hours per session, once a week at a remote venue, time is of the essence!  So, although members are taught the basic skills without your tools, I find them a real blessing in helping to make sure everyone completes their projects during the session, and I thought you might like to see your products in action at the other end of the world‼  

Many of the ladies would like to own their own boards, but for now they are thrilled at the chance to share when I can bring mine. It is my hope that the ladies will be able to use the practical craft skills they learn in our sessions to improve their lives and hopefully generate some income.  
One of the ladies got an order for wedding invitation cards, when a relative saw the quilling she had done in our session:-) - what a victory! 

Anyway, I just wanted to share what a blessing your product is to so many, and to say thank you for a great product that is so versatile, especially in an environment that has no electricity!-)
God-Bless you and the Crafter's Companion team,

Isn't this just an amazing story, and we were so thrilled to receive Letita's letter, that we have decided to donate some additional crafting supplies to her group for her to take out with her next time she is travelling to Africa.

I hope you can join myself and the team in congratulating her on what a fantastic job she is doing - we'll be sure to pass on any comments from the blog post to her.

If any of you reading this have been involved in charitable activities like this and want to share your story, we would love to hear from you! You can get in touch via the contact form on our website

Michelle x

17 thoughts on “Crafting in Africa”

  • Ahh what a wonderful story, thanks for sharing with us Michelle xxx

  • Hi Michelle what a lovely e-mail Letita is doing a brilliant job It really pulls at the heartstrings, I think sometimes we don't realize just how lucky we are.How generous of you all at CC to be donating some crafting products for them to use.It would be lovely if us crafters could set up a donation fund to buy crafting products for them. I am willing but obviously I can't speak for everyone else,even if it's only £1 it all mounts up and it's going to a good cause.Thank you Michelle for sharing this with us.Hugs Julie x

  • What a lovely letter & so nice to see our products being used this far afield!

  • Lovely email and inspiration. A fund needs to be set up and good on you CC that you are donating more things. Thanks for sharing.

  • CraftyCatDesigns 16th April 2012 at 8:14 pm

    Wow, how amazing! - this was wonderful to read! I think Julie's idea is a good one, and would be willing to help. I was also thinking a good idea would be to maybe donating craft stuff that is surplus to our requirements...I know I have stuff that I hang onto 'just in case..!!' Thanks so much for sharing this :)Mandy x

  • A true inspiration to all of us. Yes, I am willing to donate money and some crafting products. I shall also be flying to SA in the next couple of months and will be happy to take a case of donated craft goodies with me. X

  • I want to help-this is amazing.

  • Trena in Naperville 17th April 2012 at 5:36 am

    Wow! That's awesome. Touch lives with arts & crafts.Take care and STAY POSITIVE!

  • Hi Everyone Wow Letitia is an amazing person - What a wonderful email it really does make you think about all the unforunate people - most of us take it for granted that can buy the Ultimate Pro or card packs. What a wonderful company Crafters Companion are for donating crafty bits - it is really heart warming.Good idea Julie about setting up where we can donate money.Love to everyoneGillxxx

  • This is just wonderful. Thank you for sharing it with us Michelle and good on Crafters Companion for donating some equipment to help out. This lady is a true inspiration to us all. We just press a button and get the goodies delivered directly to the door and really take for granted what we have and it is very humbling to see what Letita is doing and the enjoyment that she is bringing to those lovely ladies. We all know how pleasing crafting can be and if it gives them a break from the harshness of their lives well done. xx

  • What a fantastic story, well done on Crafters Companion for donating crafting products, it is what we have come to expect from you and I am so proud to be associated with such an ethical company. It has bought home to me how lucky I am just to be able to ordered what I want when I want. Crafting is a Joy and its great to know that it is being passed on to those with so little in their life. I have plenty of Crafty stash I could send and also would like to donate to a regular fund if it can be set up.Thank you Michelle for sharing this and also well Letitia for a brilliant job well done xxx

  • What an amazing and inspirational story. So nice to see the photos too.

  • Amazing! Well done everyone concerned. We all have stash we dont use, so it would make a lot of sense to be able to pass it on. Linda x

  • This is just a very humble Hi from Sunny South Africa, to my fellow "craft companions" - I am so moved by your support and generosity. Your responses have touched me deeply!! Thank you for sharing my heart and for reaching out in friendship and support to the members of these amazing community groups. I am so thankful to Michelle and the Craft Companion team for giving these precious ladies a voice and look forward to keeping you updated and sharing the privilege of walking alongside these incredible women... ~Thank You~

  • Oh my.. What an amazing lady! And to see the hard time times they are facing ( makes us glad for what we have), simple thing we take for granted and there they are having the time of their lifes. I am sure all the wonderful gifts you send out, will help the ladies create wonderful creations. WELL DONE Letitia, YOU ARE TRULY AN AMAZING LADY!

  • This is such a deeply touching story - Letitia you are a wonderful woman sweetie.And yes I vote with Julie for setting up a donation fund.I'm in for sure!!xx

  • What a beautiful thing to do and well done cc for helping ,i would love to donate some of my craft stash i have such a lot i dont use ,so i vote for setting up fund xx

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