By: FJP reporter – Amanda Onamandla Mathe
Terri Myburgh of the Orphan Bracelet Campaign said, “We need a big ambassador.”An ambassador that could stimulate the purchase of bracelets made by women infected with HIV/AIDS, during the Grahamstown National Arts Festival.
At their stand it contained bracelets made from recycled goods such rubber, brass and aluminium to create bracelets of absolute beauty. They currently have programmes running in Port Alfred and in Grahamstown. They are hoping to launch one in the Transkei region.
Myburgh stated, “All we need is exposure of the campaign that way we can fund our feeding schemes for the children of these women making the bracelets.” The feeding scheme feeds the children twice a day for five days a week, which is all self-funded and supported by the sales abroad.
The campaign currently thrives from international sales in the United States of America where the jewellery is being sold at R150, with a following from famous actresses such as Megan Good, Shaun Robinson and Romi Dames. Actress and activist Sheryl Lee Ralph best known for her comedy television programmes is also building awareness about the plight of women in South Africa.
In South Africa, SAMA award wining jazz artist Simphiwe Dana spear heads the promotion of the Orphan Bracelet Campaign. Myburgh stated, “We want to grow support for the campaign especially since we are at the Festival, to be able to expand through out South Africa.” One of Myburgh’s concerns was the slow roll out of Anti-Retrial virals to the people who need them the most, which are out of the city centres and living in the farms where there isn’t enough job stimulation.
Nobenzimi Malusi mother of two and from the Transkei recently joined the campaign and will soon learn the craft of making jewellery. She believes that Government is doing something, but that it is not enough and not everyone benefits. Malusi is also leather crafter and has worked closely with Myburgh for the past ten years.
Myburgh feels that government and people need to break the stigma attached to HIV/AIDS and needs to encourage employment, she stated, “We need the spirit of Ubuntu just as our campaign is about Ubuntu.”