Using Botswana's stockpile of cow horn to transform lives

Brothers for All training groupIn May 2014 Mothers for All, with the assistance of Barclays Bank, successfully launched the Botswana Brothers for All project with an innovative training programme. While Botswana has a thriving beef industry, it also has the problem of a growing stockpile of cow horns. We chose to use this wasted resource to not only create jobs but also transform negative gender attitudes.

This idea came about when one of our most loyal Mothers for All members, Hilda Amon, was brutally murdered by an ex-boyfriend. We decided to honour her life by working more closely with men to address the unacceptably high levels of domestic violence in the country.

By providing unemployed male youth with income-generation skills together with workshops on becoming positive male role models, Brothers for All hopes to increase their economic opportunities as well as help to keep women and children safe in their homes and the community.

 
Brothers for All website launched

Mothers for All is happy to announce the launch of Brothers for All and its very own website. Our work in South African prisons and the community using the Group of Hope inmates and parolees has been steadily growing. We felt a new arm of the organisation was required to support this exciting direction. The original Playing it Safe programme, sponsored by the MAC AIDS Foundation, has evolved into much more than an HIV peer education programme. It now also focuses on personal development, behavioural change and making safer choices in general - safe on a personal level and safe for the community. Using the perpetrators of violence to become part of the solution is inspiring many people to get involved. Join us......

 
HIVOS funds expansion of prison programme

Playing it Safe Inside is an HIV peer education programme, designed to help inmates make healthier sexual choices and reduce the high incidence of HIV disease in prisons. Mothers for All ran a very successful pilot in 2012 at Dwarsrivier Correctional Centre and was therefore given funding to roll out the programme in a further two prisons: Worcester Male Centre and Worcester Female Centre.

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Why the violence? Why the silence?

In October last year Hilda Amon, a long-term member of Mothers for All, was brutally murdered with a spade by her ex-boyfriend who had been harassing and threatening her for many months.  In Botswana, as in many other countries, the frequency with which women and children are exploited, beaten, raped and murdered should shock us all into action. But Hilda's gruesome death barely received a mention in the local paper and we have to start asking why. Hilda became the face of our organisation when her picture, adorned with the paper bead jewellery she became so skilled at making, was chosen for the front cover of our leaflet. More importantly she personified the aims of the organisation by seizing every opportunity that was offered to increase her skills and help herself and other mothers achieve a better life for themselves and the orphaned children in their care.

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Further education and training - some success stories

Thanks to the generosity of our donors we now have six vulnerable children and adolescents who have been able to return to full-time schooling or attend training colleges. And, as word spreads, more and more children who had to abandon their schooling for socio-economic reasons are asking to go back to school or get some skills training.

The children include Oratile, Keiterile, Onalenna, Neo Sekoba and Neo Jabane from Selibe-Phikwe and Oduestse from Bobonong. Oratile, pictured below, started training in book-keeping and IT at the beginning of 2011 and now works full time for Mothers for All. It is fitting that she is also the orphaned granddaughter of our very first mother to be recruited.

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Mothers for All - feeding families

During the course of 2011 we taught 40 of our mothers living in central and eastern Botswana to develop their own backyard permaculture gardens. This programme will be rolled out to 20 of our mothers living in the Okavango Delta region in 2012. The bountiful fresh produce from their gardens has helped to improve each household's food security as well nutritional status, and has inspired many other women in their villages to follow suit.

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Viva Glam lipsticks, prisoners and HIV prevention come together
Mothers for All, which has been running a  handicraft training project with male and female inmates at Worcester Prison in South Africa's Cape Province for over a year now, has recently received permission from the prison authorities to roll out a pilot HIV peer education and leadership programme for 12 selected male inmates.
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FIFA gives paper bead bracelets to their staff on World AIDS Day

Paper bead bracelets made by our Botswana caregivers from old FIFA brochures were distributed to 350 FIFA staff members in Zurich on World AIDS day. Football, AIDS orphans and waste paper do not suggest any immediate synergy but all three came together in a very happy solution, making sure that 2012 school fees will be paid and this year's Christmas will be celebrated.

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Mothers for All Sweden is launched
Mothers for All is delighted to announce the establishment of Mothers for All Sweden by Maria Littorin, who has visited the project in Botswana. While the Mothers for All jewellery is now available at two Swedish shops - Svenskt Tenn and Accessora - the most successful and fun route for selling the jewellery and telling the story behind the project has been through house parties and office visits. This has also provided an excellent opportunity to get direct feedback about the different product designs for the Swedish market.
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Back to school
We are delighted to report that Polite Dwanie Tukishi, 30, is our first mother to benefit from the 'Mothers Supporting Mothers' training fund. This fund was established to help our Mothers who want to go back to school or do a training course by providing 50 percent of the total cost. Money for the fund comes from private donations and the Mothers themselves who contribute to the fund when they earn over a certain amount from the sale of the paper beads. The day the fund was launched, Dwanie decided that she wanted to return to school, which she had left at the age of 16 after both her parents died (within a week of one another). She submitted an application and was accepted to the high-achieving Francistown Senior Secondary School, where she is tackling 10 subjects through their evening class programme. Dwanie aims to get into the University of Botswana to study social work.
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Greening Botswana - one household at a time
The Mothers for All permaculture programme has been launched. Our Botswana national co-ordinator, Jenny Dunlop, and four of our mothers recently travelled to Tlholego Village outside Rustenburg in South Africa for a two-week permaculture course. The mothers thought they were going to learn how to grow vegetables. Instead, they were exposed to a whole new philosophy which integrates care of the earth with care of people and the notion of a 'fair share' for all.
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Gaborone fashion night

Mothers for All beaded necklaces featured prominently at a recent fashion show in Gaborone, Botswana showcasing local designers including the internationally acclaimed Motswana fashion designer, Koteso Chiepe, as well as New York designer, Indashio, who is also a celebrated fashion stylist, personality and TV star.

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World Bank grant helps launch new projects
A special grant from the World Bank has enabled Mothers for All to send our first orphaned school leaver, Oratile, on a year's training course in IT and book-keeping as well as buy a special diamond drill to make threading holes in local semi-precious stones to include in our jewellery.
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EU funding granted to expand our training programmes

In partnership with the Botswana government the European Union recently awarded grants totalling 6.8 million Pula (£635 000) to 14 different non-profit organisations as part of a capacity-building programme for 2011. Mothers for All was one of the beneficiaries and we now, therefore, have funding to roll out workshops in food gardening and product diversification for our mothers during the forthcoming year.

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Texan group of women move mountains of beads

Peggy Busby, a family therapist, and her small prayer group in Dallas, Texas have become our best sales women. Peggy's work has been primarily with children in need and so, on hearing about the work of Mothers for All in Botswana decided this would be a good way to turn their prayer into action.

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World AIDS Day champions

In acknowledgement of World AIDS Day, Mothers for All wants to draw your attention to a few of the countless amazing people and organisations courageously and creatively working to help those affected by the HIV epidemic in southern Africa. They are celebrated on the AIDSbuzz.org website as champions. A champion means a conqueror, a hero, a victor and a winner. It also describes a person who fights for a cause or another person. Both of these descriptions perfectly fit the people who are profiled on this website, which also includes our Mothers for All.

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McNab's disco party raises money for Mothers for All

McNab's has been a keen supporter of Mothers for All, SA for some time now as our mission complements their sustainability ethos. The company operates from The Energy Works, an award-winning, environmentally friendly building in Johannesburg and specialises in producing nutritional supplements and foods that provide sustainable energy. At a recent disco party sponsored by McNab's at the Vacca Matta Monte Casino in Johannesburg it was decided that the entrance fee would go to Mothers for All.

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Barclays Botswana runs workshop for our mothers

Barclays Botswana recently ran a financial counselling workshop for 18 of our mothers in Selebi-Phikwe. This group included mothers from Selebi-Phikwe, Semolale and Bobonong. The mothers all loved the workshop and particularly enjoyed meeting some of the other mothers from neighbouring towns and villages and sharing experiences.

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Oprah magazine features our mothers

The October issue of the South African Oprah magazine features an article by Susan Storm about the Mothers for All project and the Travelling Bead necklace she created out of our mothers’ recycled paper beads to raise funds for the organisation.

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The Mothers for All 'Goal' bracelet – working with Eurosport and the United States Soccer Foundation

In 2009 Eurosport, in partnership with the US Soccer Foundation, commissioned Mothers for All to make 900 GOAL bracelets out of old Eurosport catalogues for distribution at regional soccer tournaments around the US.  The Soccer Foundation and Eurosport, a leading grass roots soccer company, sponsor many community upliftment projects both within the US and around the world. The Mothers for All GOAL bracelet project has been so successful that another 1,300 bracelets have been ordered and more Eurosport catalogues are now on their way to Botswana to be recycled by our mothers into beautiful paper bead bracelets.

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Peace Corps Volunteer joins Mothers for All

Mothers for All is delighted to announce that Mary McGee, a US Peace Corps Volunteer, will be spending the next two years in Selibe-Phikwe working with us. Mary brings a range of much needed skills, as well as enthusiasm and a spirit of adventure, after years in public library service in California and Alaska followed by work with the US Forest Service leading tours in limestone caves and glacier cruises around Alaska.

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