Bigger Than Barbie

10/21/2008

Ceramic artists Barbara Jackson, Shirley Fintz, and Mathapelo Ngaka have created one of the most beautiful health and poverty-fighting projects I have ever seen. Their desire to create employment and empowerment for disadvantaged women in Cape Town, South Africa has led to the creation of MONKEYBIZ, a non-profit, income-generating art and health project.

Monkeybiz currently supports over 450 women and their families – many of whom are HIV positive. The project utilizes a centuries-old female beadwork tradition within the Xhosa, Zulu, Ndebele and Sotho tribes. The craft is introduces to women directly through their mothers, grandmothers and other women in the community and is a source of tribal pride. By creating beautiful, one-of-a-kind beaded art pieces, the women have found a sustainable way to generate income for themselves and their families. The Monkeybiz story is told on a brilliant documentary entitled Bigger than Barbie, which can be previewed on their website or on the MySpace page. It features Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, and many other universal health and anti-poverty crusaders.

These amazing little works of art can be purchased on the Monkeybiz online store. All profits go back into the communities to supply beads and the provision of community services. This is the kind of stuff we need.

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