On 24 March 2020 a group of women in the Letsitele district started preparation for lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic. As did many South Africans.
The implications are vast, yet as our President put it, “we are convinced that the cost of not acting now will be far greater! We must stand united now as a Nation and do what we can to #flattenthecurve. The act of self isolating is a gift we can give each other!”
Mokgadi Lebepe, with her ‘lappies’ to start embroidering lovely items for Kaross. She will be making art with beautiful designs. Without her incredible talent and respect for her work, Kaross will not work. Kaross is fashioning a culture of embrace and she is exactly the image of why they love what they do!
The women are embroiders at an empowerment project, Kaross. Jannie Muller is a family friend of the Van Rooyen family who initiated this project more than 25 years ago, and he has this inspiring story to share with #ImStaying:
The project dedicates itself to the long-lasting benefits of job-creation within a community.
“Close to my hometown, Tzaneen, a farmer and his wife decided to empower the farm workers’ wives, who were mostly unemployed. This was in the early 90’s. Being an artist herself, Irma van Rooyen initiated a project where the local women got to do embroidery on her unique African designs.
The project dedicates itself to the long-lasting benefits of job-creation within a community. The skill of embroidery was revived. By making it commercially viable, Kaross today employs around 1300 embroiderers. They produce a premium quality range of products from place mats to cushion covers, wall art, table runners and more, sold all around the world.
A group of women started creating works of art unique to themselves and their background – a reflection of their culture, celebrating their heritage.
Burgert van Rooyen, Irma’s husband, started farming citrus in the Letsitele area in 1984 and created a family business. From the farm and Kaross, the Kaross Foundation was born in 2017. Their main objective is to identify, fund, and implement projects that will result in sustainable improvements in the quality of life of employees and their communities.”
Founder of Kaross, Irma van Rooyen, pictured here with some lovely designs.
Inspired by the vision of Irma van Rooyen, a group of women started creating works of art unique to themselves and their background – a reflection of their culture, celebrating their heritage. These women sat outside their rural homes on a kaross (blanket), and started embroidering beautiful works of art.
A Kaross product is the embodiment of passion for colour and the tactile experience of African culture. The 100% handcrafted products are of extraordinary beauty, combined with durable quality and exquisite attention to detail.
We will carry on fashioning a culture that embraces one another with kindness and responsibility
Janine Pretorius, director of Kaross and board member of the Kaross Foundation says the main challenge facing the project is to remain sustainable during lockdown.
“These are uncertain and interesting times globally. At Kaross, we will remain active citizens in a global crisis and we will carry on fashioning a culture that embraces one another with kindness and responsibility. At the moment our main responsibility is to keep approximately 1279 households in rural South Africa functioning.”
Preparation for lockdown at Kaross. 24 March 2020.
“People can play an active part by buying a beautifully crafted item online. Our Online Store will still be operational with new and beautifully crafted items. By purchasing an item online, you are making a difference! Let us hold fast to the hope that we have the hope that anchors our souls! Keep spreading love and joy. #ImStaying,” says Janine.
Edited By: Erna Maré
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GOOD THOUGHTS • GOOD WORDS • GOOD DEEDS
Team Lead & Final Editing for #ImStaying
A lover of words, mentoring, networking, and helping my fellow man to ‘learn to fish’. Driven by a hunger to never stop learning, a passion for adventure and travel, sundowners and laughter with good friends. At the end of the day what brings great delight to my life are my young adult sons.
Quote: “The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall.” Nelson Mandela