"We can claim with confidence that most women who form this community of hard working embroidery artists in this non-profit project have developed a sense of self-value, a confidence, and a self-sufficiency with a ‘can do’ mindset". Read more about the operations of the Mapula women below...
THE MAPULA COMMUNITY
In the past 30 years, the embroiderers have developed an intricate system involving design, production, and development of artistic and business skills. In addition to sales of the embroideries, the project is also supported by donations that help purchase equipment such as sewing machines and assist families of the project members.
The Sisters of Mercy who live and run an education and skills training center in the Winterveld, provide the embroiderers with the use of a workspace free of charge and have been involved with the project from the beginning.
The Mapula Embroidery Prioject is in its 30th year. During that time impact on the women, their families as well as their communities has been observed by outsiders and articulated by the women themselves. We have many testimonies and much anecdotal evidence.
We can claim with confidence that most women who form this community of hard working embroidery artists in this non-profit project have developed a sense of self-value, a confidence, and a self-sufficiency with a ‘can do’ mindset.
This has been well-observed during the Covid lockdowns when many could sustain themselves through their own food gardens and emotional resilience.
Those amongst the women who have taken on leadership and management roles and responsibilities both on the production Board and the Trust have developed an understanding of the business and acquired knowledge and management skills which would not have been possible otherwise.
In addition, those embroidery artists who have assisted in the training of the women in Kibeho, Rwanda, have had international exposure which has broadened their understanding of the world outside of their own.
It has become clear that the older generation of women in Mapula Embroidery Project do not have aspirations for further formal education for themselves. However, they make great sacrifice to ensure that their children and those in their extended families receive the best education they can provide.
In this way they are investing in a better future for themselves and their communities.
The community of embroiderers are living in three different areas in the Winterveld. To manage production, 3 groups were formed, each with a coordinator who takes care of organizing production in their group, but also deal with possible social issues. These coordinators together with 4 chosen members from the broader embroidery community make up the Mapula Production Board. Amongst them, two members are chosen to take active part in and are members of the Mapula Embroidery Trust.
We are proud to announce that one of the younger 'next generation' of embroidery artists has been brought in as Assistant to the production management.
All Mapula Embroidery products are original. The Mapula embroiderers are a group of around 150 women, working from their homes or from a facility kindly provided by the Sisters of Mercy in the Winterveld, an impoverished area north-west of Pretoria, South Africa. The pieces are designed, and hand embroidered by these talented women. Some art cloths are exhibited in museums and private collections worldwide. The women get paid on the sale of their products and they receive a fair price for their work.
Some of the designs for the smaller items may be repeated, but each product is embroidered by a different embroiderer who decides on what colour and stitch she uses to transform the design into a bright, unique Mapula item. As these are handmade products, please allow for variations in design and slight variations in size. All products are made with South African materials, and have a label with washing instructions.