by Kundai Marunya
Rural women who earn a living through arts and craft are well represented at the ongoing Harare International Festival of the Arts (HIFA).
Their art is being exhibited at different stands in the British American Tobbaco Zimbabwe Crafts and Design Centre by different organisations notably the Zienzele Foundation, Step Zimbabwe Trust and the Lupane Women Centre.
Step Zimbabwe Trust, an organisation that advocates for sustainable Community Based Tourism, this year brought in crafts from women in Honde Valley.
In an interview with Melody Mugauri, Step Zimbabwe representative at HIFA, she said they are helping out disadvantaged women in Honde Valley earn a living through their art.
“This time around we are supporting women in Honde Valley. We market their work so that they can get enough money to school their children and fend for their families,” she said.
The Step Zimbabwe women who had their art at HIFA are beneficiaries of a fellowship program that took them to China and India to learn new styles of basketry design.
Masvingo’s Zienzele Foundation, an organisation that necessitates the access of education for orphans is also representing the Chivi South women.
Their stand consists of basketry; hats and various other woven products, all bought from orphans’ care givers, who are mostly women.
“We buy from care givers in Chivi and sell the products at a profit. All proceeds from the sell are used to pay school fees for orphans,” said Dr Prisca Nemapare, Zienzele, Programs Officer.
Their project benefit 400 care givers while 600 primary school students, 100 secondary school students and seven tertiary school students are benefiting in school fees.
For women in Matebeleland North, the Lupane Women Centre has covered their need to earn for their families through a collaborative exhibition with the Royal Darnish Embassy.
Their work is found in different kitchen and home essentials, while collaborative work with Danish nationals, Eva Seidenfaden and Ane Lyngsgaard has fresh, creatively woven work suitable for both home use and general decoration and design on offer.
The new design lines launched at HIFA will probably be the best earner for Lupane Women.