By: Nghiinomenwa-vali Erastus
Capricorn Foundation has pledged N$240,000 for logistical assistance in the production and selling of handicrafts, training and food support.
In a statement, the Foundation has affirmed its commitment to empower rural artisans to develop and market some of Namibia’s most iconic handicrafts and San contemporary art.
Through the Omba Arts Trust, a non-profit organisation that supports sustainable livelihoods through arts and crafts, the Foundation said the funds will benefit over 460 rural artisans which the Trust supports.
Of the 430 artisans, about 32 are found in Okaku Constituency, close to Ondangwa.
Their project is called “Nyeka ye Pumba” and was started in 1996 by the Omba Arts Trust, facilitating training and product development.
Nyeka ye Pumba is led by Selma Itamelo as Chairperson, and supported by its Secretary, Ester Kasheeta.
The project focuses on weaving items such as baskets in various sizes and shapes, bags, and table placemats.
Itamelo and Kasheeta spearhead and support the group with the regular orders from Omba and ensure that the craft items are made according to the orders received and delivered to Omba on time.
To ensure their investment is channelled as committed, the Capricorn Foundation visited the project in August, and met the artisans and viewed their various weaving products.
The Foundation’s Chief Executive Officer, Marlize Horn explained that supporting community-centred social enterprises and entrepreneurship initiatives is a primary focus for the Foundation under the economic advancement focus area.
She said the Foundation is satisfied with its partnership with Omba Arts Trust and the development that it has brought about in the communities, enabling them to become sustainable and empowered.
“Our visit to the Nyeka ye Pumba project was eye-opening and confirmed that rural communities can be empowered to sustain themselves and their families with the right support and resources,” Horn said.
According to Kasheeta, the Omba Arts Trust has positively impacted their lives.
“We used to undersell our items, and with the help of the Trust giving us a market, we can generate more income from the items we sell,” she explained.
She added that the drought in the north has also greatly affected them, and with the Omba partnership, they can still provide for their families and send their children to schools.
Another artisan from a project named “Hand in Hand”, in Drimiopsis, Omaheke region, narrated their ordeal as a group of women who live on a resettlement farm far away from a town, saying where they live there are no employment opportunities, however, their access to Omba enables them to earn an income.
“With their help, we can care for our children and families, and today, I have my own house,” she stated.
The Foundation has has been supporting Omba Arts Trust since 2021.
The Omba Arts Trust is a not- for-profit social enterprise founded over 30 years ago to support sustainable livelihoods through arts and crafts. Email: email@example.com