Each ‘mother’ needs to fulfil the Mothers for All requirement that she must be caring for children orphaned or made vulnerable by AIDS, abuse or neglect.
An orphan is defined as any child under the age of 18 who has lost one or both parents. This definition is used by WHO, UNAIDS and Unicef. The loss of one parent for many children living in sub-Saharan Africa, particularly a mother as she is usually the primary caregiver, can
have a serious impact on a child's access to basic needs such as love,
psychosocial support, shelter, food clothing. The loss of both parents
can be catastrophic for a child on every level; many such children end
up living in child-headed households, a term that cannot even begin to convey the
misery and deprivation attendant upon such a situation.
Children who are living with a primary caregiver who is HIV-positive can become vulnerable if the caregiver develops AIDS and is no longer able to provide adequate care and support. Some of these children are also HIV-positive. Often, it is the children who end up having to care for sick parents and their younger siblings as well as try to make ends meet, in a tragic reversal of roles. These children frequently drop out of school and become vulnerable to prostitution, drugs and crime in an effort to survive.
Training procedure and regulations
- A group of six mothers will be taught to make paper products by experienced trainers– initially this will be bead making from used magazines and cardboard boxes. Later, mothers will be taught to make papier-mâché bowls and hand-made paper from newsprint.
- Each mother, while in training, must be prepared to make a commitment for six weeks to practise these new skills before expecting any income. Quality products are the goal and therefore adequate practice in making the products is essential.
- The group must meet at least once a week to share ideas, give support and tips, and problem-solve. Mothers will also be taught additional life skills during these meetings.
- In the first training session, each mother will be given: a pair of scissors, a ruler, a pencil, glue,, a roll of fishing line, and some old magazine papers and cardboard boxes (mothers will be expected to source their own magazines and cardboard boxes once this supply is finished). The new mothers will be taught how to make the various types of beads and will be expected to practise and make beads for four weeks, thereby building a bank of good quality beads that they can then use for stage two. Varnishing will be done at the central meeting place once or twice a week.
- If the group meets twice a week, has worked hard and practised adequately to produce quality beads, the members can move on to stage two earlier.
- During stage two the trainers will show the mothers how to make the bead jewellery. Mothers will be taught the designs and colour coordination for the necklaces, bracelets, earrings and bookmarks.
- A second pack of materials will be supplied to each mother. This will consist of: an assortment of glass beads (10 scoops), 50 crimps, five pairs of earring fittings, 20 lengths of cord and jewellery pliers. If a mother drops out, she must return the jewellery pliers.
- Products can be made and sold freely by trainee mothers. Mothers for All will buy the quality products and package them ready for local and international sale. Products will be purchased at set prices.
- Once the second pack of materials has been finished, the trainee mothers will be responsible for buying their own materials – this includes glue, fishing line, glass beads, crimps, and earring fittings. Mothers For All will sell these essential supplies at cost price.
- Buying of products and selling of raw materials will be done either once a week or once a fortnight.
- Income for each mother will depend on individual output – the more quality products each mother makes, the greater her income. However, there will be a cap on the income per week for each mother, which will be dependent on demand, to ensure as many mothers as possible benefit. In the event of a big order the cap will be increased depending on the requirements of the order.
- Each mother must not be receiving a total income of more than P800 (80 UK pounds) from other sources when joining the group. This is to make sure that the mothers in greatest need are targeted.
- Once a mother has gained sufficient experience, she will be required to help train new mothers.
All our products are made from materials, such as old magazines, cardboard packaging, wrapping paper and newsprint, that would otherwise end up in rubbish dumps. In addition, we have taken particular care to make the finished products as environmentally friendly as possible. Our packaging cards are made from recycled paper and we are experimenting with glue made from flour, salt and water, environmentally friendly varnish and biodegradable film bags.
As the income-generation groups grow and develop, Mothers for All intends introducing the following programmes:
- HIV and AIDS awareness - living positively; safer choices; overcoming stigma
- Environmental awareness - recycling; water and energy conservation; appreciation and preservation of our natural environment
- Nutrition - healthy eating; food gardening and permaculture projects
- Carbon off-set programme - tree planting; distribution of solar water heaters
- Life skills and counselling - financial management; psychosocial support groups for the caregivers and children; bereavement counselling
- Sports development and healthy lifestyle programmes
- Monitoring and evaluation of the physical, behavioural and mental health of the orphans and vulnerable children under the mothers' care