African Art - Iron:
We are buying from two main projects in Africa at present.
In 2004 a group of adult polio victims, many of whom were begging on the streets in Dar es Salaam Tanzania, came together with help from Blue Mango Photography, funds from The Dar es Salaam Charity Goat Races and great support from big companies in Dar who donated their scrap metal, and established a welding workshop. Here, with training from a local welding expert they learnt how to weld and, using recycled scrap metal, started very quickly to make animals, birds and boats which were sold locally.
After a few months we were very lucky to have Heather Cumming, a professional artist/welder from Scotland, come to Dar es Salaam for two months to train the Welders in the finer art of metal sculpture. After her visit we held an exhibition and with the funds raised we officially launched the project and registered as the WONDER WORKSHOP, a Tanzanian NGO. Since then we have gone from strength to strength and are now training more and more disabled Tanzanians as well as producing world class metal artwork. We are fully self-sufficient and are expanding rapidly to keep up with demand.
In the last 3 years we have expanded the workshops to include a handmade recycled paper project, handmade wooden toys, natural handmade soaps and recycled glass bottle beads. We currently employ 40 people on a full-time basis as well as a further 4 in our out-sourcing satellite workshop. The sales of the items sustain the project and pay all the members all a good salary so that they can support themselves and their families. In the future we hope to continue to expand the project and have more polio victims come and join us as well as start exporting and exhibiting our work overseas.
The second one
is TendeArt, Harare Zimbabwe.
It all started some years ago when we met Peter Tendenguwo in 2006. A young artist working with stone and metal. Via Peter we met "a lot of his friends". All working with metal - stone - wood from their home backyard. Soon we started buying from several of them and opened discussion to improve their work. This number rapidly grew and became to complcated to menage for us. We discussed with Peter - who was still our "middle man". The result is the foundation TendeArt making a living for around 30 families in 2007. We continue our discussion with everybody in person but the sales is organised via TendeArt. We not only try to find new articles but also imporve the present ones.