When we first met Anabela a couple of years ago she was extremely withdrawn and suffered from anxiety and depression. Over the past few years she has come alive with purpose and her creativity has bloomed.
Anabella has 5 children. Her two grownup children live in Mozambique and her other three children aged 13, 9 and 6 are here in South Africa with her. " I love crocheting best" she tells me with a shy smile. We're so proud of how far she has come!
My name is Angeline. I haven't been able to see my children for a few years. They are 8 and 4 years old. I sent my oldest back to Zim to stay with family when they were 4 years old and the youngest at age 2. I miss them a lot, but it is easier to work and make money when I know they are being looked after at home. I love sewing and can sew with a sewing machine.
My name is Chipo Makuyana. Being a part of the Rarebear project for the past 5 years has allowed me to be able to pay for school fees for my 15 year old in Mozambique. It also means I can pay rent for my home and groceries to feed my other two children who are 8 and 5 years old. I love making the sheep Rare Bear most of all.
My name is Codester. I have 3 children. My eldest is 6 and is in Zimbabwe for schooling. My little one is three months old and was born during lockdown at Coronation hospital.
Codester's little boy has the most beautifully expressive eyes. Codester is a star crocheter and her animals are always meticulously made. She tells me her favourite one to make is a unicorn.
My name is Eliza Kumbula. I have three children. My 11 and 6 year old are in Zimbabwe and the youngest is here with me. She is not very happy to have her picture taken today, but she doesn't usually cry like this, she is a happy baby. I wanted to be a nurse when I was young.
My name is Elizabeth. I have two children aged 17 and 10. I've been in South Africa for 5 years. My favourite animal to make is the unicorn. I also grow and sell tomatoes in Kya Sands.
"My name is Esther, I have one baby who is a year old. I came from Zimbabwe in 2018. I like baking biscuits and bread, but we have to make them over a fire here in the township because we don't have ovens."
Esther's little girl was NOT impressed with my camera .
My name is Jane, My three children are 19, 15 and 5. Besides crocheting, I love cooking, especially okra. I boil the okra in hot water with bicarb and salt until it gets very slimy, and then we eat it with pap and chilli sauce.
My name is Julia. I have 4 children (14, 10, 7 and 3 months).Three of my children are in Zimbabwe and the youngest is 3 months and was born in Zimbabwe, and I just came back with her last month. My dream is to learn more. I never had a chance to study more and left school at age 10. I really want to learn more and study more.
My name is Maria Ziki. All five of my children are in Zimbabwe. They are 20, 16, 14, 11 and 3. I've been a part of the Rare Bear Project since 2016. Crocheting rare bears helps me pay for school fees so that my children can have an education in Zimbabwe.
My name is Mercy. I have only one child who is 5 years old. I came to South Africa last year. I didn't expect 2020 to be this difficult. Thankfully Codester taught me how to crochet and I am now part of the Rare Bear family. I also love baking cakes!
My name is Molline. I have three children, 11, 8 and 5 and they all live in Zimbabwe. My mother taught me how to crochet when I was young, and I'd make the things she used t make, like tablecloths and doilies and mats and jerseys. When I joined the rare bear project I learned I can make other things as well like different animals. I love crocheting and finding new things to make.
My name is Nozipho. My children are 18, 10 and 3 years old. Nozipho and her son look lovely dressed up for Heritage day this year and she is proudly South African. "I love sewing clothes and I know how to use a sewing machine" She tells me she has one at home- but it is a manual one because there is no electricity in her shack.
My name is Progeny. I have three children. My 12 and 8 year old live in Zimbabwe and my youngest daughter will be 2 at the end of the year. She lives here with me.
Prog is one of our leaders among the ladies.
Prog tells me she is most proud of herself and who she has become. She's proud to be a part of the Rare Bear Project and of the group of ladies here.
My name is Regina. I've been a part of the Rarebear project for 5 years now. When we first learned how to crochet we made lots of mistakes and the animals looked funny, but now we do really good work. I have two children aged 7 and 4. My dream is to become a preschool teacher and do a course that will allow me to learn how to become an educator.
My name is Ruth Sabiti. I am a grandmother of 4 and a mother to 5 children who range between 32 years and 9 years. They all live in Zimbabwe. I learned to crochet with the Rarebear group in 2016. Being a part of this group allows me the opportunity to earn money to buy groceries to send back to my family in Zimbabwe. I send them with Malaicha - a transport company that takes groceries from South Africa to Zimbabwe because things are so expensive there.
My name is Sphiwe. I was born in Limpopo and grew up there. I am married to a Zimbabwean man so now I see myself as Zimbabwean as well. I have 2 children aged 8 and 2 and have been crocheting for the project since 2015. I love cooking Magwina- vetkoek . My favourite animal to crochet is the zebra.
My name is Sylvia, I am a mother of 5 children. They are 17, 12, 9, 7 and the little one is 11 months. Only the baby is here with me, the others live in Zim. I havent seen them for 2 years now. I was last in Zimbabwe in 2018. I also love cooking. My favourites to make are pap and chips with beans and Vegetables.
My name is Tadzidza. When I was a little girl I wanted to be a football player. I loved playing around with a ball and kicking it. I am now a mother of 3 children aged 10, 6 and 1 years old.
My name is Tendai Nkhoma. Tendai's youngest son is 7 and was so excited to be in this photo! Tendai is super creative and one of our ladies who comes up with new ideas of things to crochet . she's a real entrepreneur and super creative. Her 4 other children live in Malawi and she last saw them in 2016 when she went back. "I miss them a lot." she tells me. When I ask her what her favorite thing to do is, she tells me "I like sleeping!"
My name is Tshifhiwa. I have two children aged 7 and 3 years old. When I was a child growing up I used to want to be a nurse. Now I am just a nurse to my children because every mother has to be a nurse as well. My favourite thing to do is cooking. I love cooking pap and meat for my family.