Monday, 1 October 2012

Supporting people with disabilities in South Africa

I'm cheating a bit with this post by adding to a blog thats had over 3,500 hits since I posted it in October last year. The reason for doing this is because I've sold the original bags and I've made some more. If you want to buy a bag click here for more info.

So what happens to your money when you buy a bag?
How does buying a bag help people with disabilities in South Africa?

I don’t work, I volunteer and volunteering costs me money. But where can I get the money from to assist with my volunteer work and just what exactly do I buy with the money raised by selling bags?

To start off with there are NO personal expenses, No fuel allowance. I give my time and transport costs willingly.

Volunteering gets me out, it starves off the depression, it allows me to integrate, learn the culture, the language, make friends, explore new places.

I ‘m a volunteer with Santa Shoebox. I am the sub coordinator for Pretoria and this is my 3rd year with them.  I don’t fundraise for them, just help with promotion, collection and distribution of boxes at Christmas time. Every Celebration day I attend, I bake cup cakes for each child at the facilities and if I identify a need I can meet and resources are available then I assist. But I do this outside of Santa Shoebox, as in I’m not representing them when I bake my cakes or meet their needs.

Through Santa Shoebox I have become involved with 2 organisations that I volunteer with independently.

I volunteer at Kungwini Welfare Organisation. I am involved with their adult home for people with disabilities, there is little government funding available and they rely on donations, both financial and in goods, goodwill and volunteers. I am also involved with the Children’s home. Their biggest fundraiser is their Nickel Xmas Market.

I’ve also recently become involved with The Viva Foundation in Mamelodi at the Alaskan Informal settlement. Where I spent a weekend with my son painting shacks as part of their Art Festival and I hope to become more involved with them.

At Kungwini I assist in the workshop, I help thread machines, I talk with people, I paint pots, I check quality control, I assist with orders, I identify needs and I try to meet them.

I do this by buying needles, threads, light bulbs for the machines, cottons, glue, paint, brushes, hand held devices for attaching press studs. I rinse out tin cans and plastic bottles from home to use to make crafts. I collect donations from friends, clothing, shoes etc. In the children’s home I provide them with toothbrushes and paste. I teach them how to clean their teeth and what will happen if they don’t, I challenge inappropriate language and comments. I talk about the world, share experiences, go horse riding, help tidy bedrooms, creating a feeling of ownership. I take and print photos, creating a record for these children to take with them through life.

By buying a bag you can help support me with this.

I want to be able to fund this year’s cake baking,  Last year I baked 2000 cup cakes, this year alone I’ve baked 350.

I want to print photos of every activity I’m involved with in the children’s home and help create memories.

I want to buy paint and brushes for Viva Foundation for their next Arts Festival.

I want to be able to buy items needed for the Workshop, to help them grow and develop their crafts to enable them to raise more funds from their Nickel Xmas Market.

I want to be able to have my own stall at a Market selling their crafts and my bags.

I want to be able to buy printing ink to advertise and spread the word about these organisations.


But I’m NOT asking you just for your money. I’m asking you to get involved with helping me, by buying a bag, as a gift, for personal use, telling your family and friends about where it came from and where the money goes and how it helps support people with disabilities in South Africa.

I will blog, tweet, post photos. I’m happy to discuss sponsorship requests from Media and PR companies to aid my work.

In October I am climbing Mount Kilimanjaro. I need to find a reputable organisation to go with, source the equipment and clothing needed. Set up fundraising pages (need to get donations from other countries here). I will be using some of the money I raise from selling bags to fund this. I will be paying for my flights, accommodation and the trip myself, unless I can get a sponsor for this. All funds raised from the climb will go to Kungwini to help meet some of their many needs.


I will be in the UK the end of this week and I'm bringing with me an assortment of goodies made at KWO by adults with physical and learning difficulties. I've been learning the trade along the way, so there are a few hand made gifts by me. The workshop at Kungwini Welfare Organisation
Hand bags - Colour and sizes vary (approx 40cm x 30cm) fully lined £10.00
Bag logo
Beaded Hearts - Colours will vary £2.00
Necklaces - Colours will vary £3.00
Broaches to liven up your winter coat or bag - Colours vary £2.00
Key rings - Colour and styles vary £2.00
Postage and packing extra. Stocks are limited on this trip. Contact me via twitter @chickenruby or through my blog to order


  1. A wonderful project. I am already involved with Thandulwazi and Khanyisela, but I wish you all the best with Kungwini.

    Hope you have great trip back to the UK x.

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