I grew up in Zambia and began my secondary school education in Zimbabwe before returning to Ireland at aged 16 where I completed my education. The plight of the people of Zimbabwe is something very close to my heart but recently I have been encouraged by the fact that despite everything there are some amazing people who are doing amazing things to be of practical help and in so doing provide employment, food and education for Zimbabwean artists and artisans which in turn benefits and supports their children and extended families in very difficult times.
One of those amazing people is a woman called Janice Ashby. I knew Janice, although I doubt she remembers me at all but when I lived in Cape Town, my flat mate and best friend Andre Message used to work for her as very talented packaging designer. She had a very successful business there. Anyway, she eventually emigrated to the US and by sheer coincidence, I can't quite remember how, I came across her on Facebook. She started Eco Africa Social Ventures providing quality of life support for crafting artists, artisans and their families in Zimbabwe in this time of crisis.
You can see a Business Week interview with her on YouTube in which she explains how she got involved in setting up the project. The project provides employment making hand made paper products from scrap-booking paraphinalia, to photo albums, notebooks, etc. Eco Africa Social Ventures is looking for volunteers to help in all manner of different ways. If you aer interested this is how you can get involved and help to make a difference.