We love Africa, the landscapes, the culture, the wildlife and most notably the people. Ntaba founders, Robin and Stella Mountain, are South African and everyone on the Ntaba team who’s visited Africa has formed a great bond with the continent. Therefore, we support organizations whose primary goal is to improve the lives of the African people.
Over the years, we have met wonderful people who have created inspiring initiatives to better the lives of many Africans. In this post, we will introduce you to two initiatives that we support and that you can support too.
ZABRA: AfreeBra Initiative
ZABRA collects pre-owned and new bras for women who can’t afford their own. The bras are given to organizations across the world who are caring for women such as in refugee camps in Syria, Greece, Lebanon, South Sudan and charities in Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Ghana, Rwanda and Sierra Leone. However, most bras go to organizations in South Africa.
ZABRA was founded in September 2015 by Jeanette Kruger and Nandi Msezane after Jeanette learned that bras donated to charity shops in the UK are sent to fabric recycling and are shredded to become under carpet matting and cushion filling. After realizing this she thought if she can get the bras to South Africa – her home country – she will be able to give them to women who would be able to use them.
Jeanette says, “I wanted to make a difference in women’s lives by providing bras to women who can’t afford to buy bras or underwear of their own”.
The first campaign consisted of 40 bras. Since then, they have successfully distributed over 40,000 items (bras, panties, vests, socks, tights and sanitary products). The success of the initiative is down to the incredible international network they have managed to create.
From lingerie companies in Belgium and the Middle East to tour operators (such as Ntaba) in the USA, from community festivals in London to individuals in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, as well as countries all over Europe and of course South Africa, ZABRA has received much support.
If you would like to recycle your bras, your friend’s bras, your next-door neighbor’s bras, and other items of underwear, you can! You can easily become a ‘CupGiver’ and donate bras to ZABRA. Their ‘CupHolders’, like Ntaba African Safaris, collect bras and underwear items and deliver them to a ZABRA representative or directly to an organization in need when we visit South Africa. Feel free to send your donations to Ntaba African Safaris at 1210 Yuma Trail Frankfort, KY 40601. We Appreciate your SUPPORT!
Another way you can help is by becoming a ‘CupBearer’ and sacrificing luggage space when travelling to South Africa and other countries. On most international flights, you’re entitled to two checked bags; that’s one for you and one full of underwear ready to make a difference to many women’s lives.
The initiative empowers women by providing them with something we all take for granted, underwear.
There are many shared accounts from recipients of underwear on the ZABRA Facebook page. One which stands out for me is a message they received from a school in South Africa thanking them because 14-18-year-old girls could participate in sports for the first time because they now have bras to wear.
Original T Bag Designs
Original T Bag Designs makes ‘functional art’ out of recycled tea bags. The concept behind Original T Bag Designs was created over a cup of tea between friends. Jill Heyes moved to South Africa from England in 1996. Upon moving to Hout Bay she was horrified by the tremendous poverty in a nearby settlement and wanted to help in some small way.
Jill began to teach women from the settlement a handcraft skill this grew and they began to make and sell papier mache products. However, they weren’t selling very well. After sharing this information with her friend Lynette, over a cup of tea, the idea to create items using tea bags was born.
The used tea bags are dried, emptied, ironed then painted. They began by creating greeting cards then tea lights, coasters, placemats and trays. Initial sales exceeded Jill’s expectations, so much so that she decided that the project required full-time commitment to reach its potential.
In 2003 Jill met Christine Sadler, who was producing Decoupage products and together recognized that by combining their product themes they could improve chances of sustained work and create a self-supporting business. Since then the craft of Decoupage has now been well and truly mastered by the T-Bag team and is an essential part of the work produced by Original T-Bag Designs.
Today, Original T-Bag Designs is a thriving business which has changed the lives of many women and men in Hout Bay. Nomsa, who used to clean for Jill, was recruited to paint tea bags and through her work with Original T-Bag Designs has managed to buy her own house and has recently gone on a course with AirBnB enabling her to rent out her house via the platform.
Another individual success story belongs to a lady by the name of Gracious. Her handmade purses made from tea bags are now a hot fashion accessory sold in Paris. French fashion designer, Carine Khalil spotted Gracious’ tea bag purses at Original T-Bag Designs shop at The Watershed, V&A Waterfront (a shopping and restaurant area in Cape Town). This success has helped Gracious to secure a flat in Hout Bay and pay for her son to go to a good school.
At Ntaba, we support Original T-Bag Designs by donating used tea bags when we visit South Africa. They are always looking for more tea bags to continue making their arts and craft. So, next time you have a cup of tea think about what can be done with that tea bag and how it can help change a life.
On their website, you can see how to prepare the tea bag and where to send it. If you are reading this in the US, you can bring your tea bags with you and drop them off at the Original T Bag Designs store during our visit when you travel with Ntaba or send your tea bags to us (Ntaba African Safaris 1210 Yuma Trail Frankfort, KY 40601) and we will take them with us to South Africa on a future trip.
Another way to support the business is by buying the products. You can view their range of products, here, or the next time you’re in Cape Town visit their shop at The Watershed on the V&A Waterfront.
Acts4Rwanda is a not-for-profit organization that assists orphaned and vulnerable Rwandan youth who are unable to further their schooling. Founded in 2013, Acts4Rwanda was created to defend the cause of the needy and vulnerable youth in and around Kigali, Rwanda.
The Rwandan Genocide is considered one of the greatest humanitarian crises in history. In only 100 days nearly 1,000,000 people were brutally slaughtered. This left 95,000 orphaned children. 24 years on, the children of Rwanda continue to suffer lasting impact from this horrific atrocity.
42,000 households in Rwanda are headed by children. This strain on children has resulted in some startling academic statistics, such as 62% of Rwandan youth have either never been to school or have not completed primary school.
However, one organisation, Acts4Rwanda, are trying to better the lives of orphaned children through education. Through their sponsorship program, they currently serve more than 125 children. Each student is provided with tuition, scholastic materials, uniforms and shoes. Additionally, students also receive after-school private tutoring at their transformation center.
It’s not only children Acts4Rwanda is working to help. They have adapted a skills training program (Acts4Women) to teach women crafting, sewing and business instruction. Graduation from the program will enable them to earn a stable income providing for their families. Furthermore, Acts4Rwanda has a feeding program that provides thousands of meals daily.
Acts4Rwanda really is a wonderful initiative, working hard to improve the lives of Rwandan people. Through their education project 25% of children in the project placed in the top 5% of their classes.
If you would like to support Acts4Rwanda in its mission to transform lives in Rwanda, please visit their site where you will find several ways to help. Through giving money to volunteering.