Two rural Drop-in centres in rural Venda had positive spin offs from creative textile and bading projets that Madi a Thavha ran in synergy with other programmes aiming at sustainable, business and tourism development in Limpopo.
Integrating existing social structures
Tshandama Lukau and Roima Drop-Ins benefited from training in sewing, business principles, product development and marketing funded by organizations like the US Embassy, the Creating schools charitable trust and the National Arts Council’s Creativity in Crafts programme.
These all form part of Madi a Thavha’s approach to integrate existing social structures, businesses and tourism with its development projects in Northern Limpopo.
What is a Drop-In centre?
Drop-in centers are informal groups of women aspiring to grow into mature community-based organizations that care for vulnerable children in their communities. Most drop-in centers are started by ordinary, unemployed housewives with money they pool from their own pockets. They cook for the kids, help them with their school work and look after them in creative play activities after school.
House wifes are the heroes of stability
Most rural Drop-In centers maintain a small vegetable garden with water fetched by wheelbarrow from a communal tap in the village. Women here know very well which indigenous greens, wild fruit or nuts such as Baobab and Marula can be harvested for the children during the dry winter-months too. Women who run Rural Drop-in centers are really the unsung heroes of social stability in their communities.
Tshandama Lukau and Roima looks after 150 and 120 children respectively these are mostly Aids orphans or children from parents who left for employment in Gauteng or work on farms far away from home. Tshandama Lukau’s ladies makes school uniforms and traditional Venda clothing and jewellery and Roima’s women traditional beaded jewellery and crocheted items such as hats and baby clothes to sell as extra income.
Contemporary designs for traditional crafts
Through more training in sewing and pattern adaptations for more contemporary designs for a tourist market, both drop-ins can now add value to existing products and gained by exposure to a new market.
The South African Children’s Act prescribes requirements for optimal early childhood development and Drop-ins have to look at nutrition and broad-based care, with access to education, health services and social welfare to be registered as Drop-In centers.