These are the women of the God Given Gift Group. They are mothers and grandmothers of disabled children who attend the Mama Bakhita Cheshire Center in Livingstone, Zambia. In 2011 I spent three weeks working with them to develop a doll that could be made entirely by hand, and could be sold for enough money to make an economic difference in their lives. They have grown into a true cooperative, sharing the work and profits from the sales of their Zambezi dolls.
With money in their bank account they can now pay rent, clothe and feed their families and get basic medical care. Most importantly to them, they can now pay to send their other children to school. The Mama Bakhita School for the Disabled is free for low income children, but all other schools , including public schools, have tuitions and expenses. Education for their children is their most fervent desire.
You can buy these dolls directly from their own website:
Welcome to Zambezi Dolls of Color
These are the women of the God Given Gift Group. They are mothers and grandmothers of disabled children who attend the Mama Bakhita Cheshire Center in Livingstone, Zambia.In two year’s time they have grown into a true cooperative sharing the work and profits from the sales of their Zambezi dolls and crocheted bags. With money in their bank account they have loaned to each woman enough to start a small business, paid back with a small interest, effectively running their own in house micro lending bank. Selling vegetables, charcoal, dried fish, or handmade goods, they can now pay rent, clothe and feed their families and get basic medical care. We are all very proud of what they have accomplished.
It all started with the creation of the Zambezi Doll Project in 2010.
Holliness in front of hand made cement blocks
Holliness lost 4 family members last January when a drunk driver crashed into the house they were renting in Livingstone, Zambia. No charges were ever filed against the driver, who, no doubt, paid his way out of certain conviction.
Her late mother, a charcoal vendor, had managed to save enough money to buy a small plot of land outside of town. So Holliness and her sisters moved out to the land, and with $500 from the AACDP built a temporary house, seen in the back of the photo. Holliness continued to work as a charcoal vendor, as her mother before her, enabling two of her sisters to continue in school. And now, they are fabricating cement bricks to built a permanent house.
What spirit in the face of such terrible adversity.
Sydney deserves a good arm
Seven years ago Sydney wrote to me about getting help with an education in business. He was able to earn his tuition gathering and shipping crafts from artisans in Lusaka to me here in the US. At this point he has earned several diplomas and is able to manage affairs of the AACDP in Zambia. I could not operate without him, and I could not have found a better, smarter or kinder man. In an email to me he said:
“While in South Africa working to improve the plight of the disabled there, I visited some companies that deal in prosthetics because I have always wanted one but finance was an issue. I thought I should ask Marsha to help me get it through some form of fundraising. It will help me in so many ways, especially employment.Most people think I cannot do certain things with one arm.”
The cost is about $1800.
Please consider what kind of gift this is. Donate here or send a check for any amount to:
AACDP ,PO Box 3051, West Tisbury, MA (memo:Sydney)
Many thanks to the many kind people in the world.