Monday, April 12, 2010

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I have met someone very talented. Her name is Berta and currently she works as a housemaid. What a waste. She makes stunning jewellery from anything: glass, plastic, wood, whatever she can find and they come out elegant. She is also a very talented cook. She makes the most delicious home-made jams, samosas and other foods that can be sold frozen. Berta has 2 kids and a grandchild and she looks 28!

Imagine what someone as talented as Berta can do with a thousand dollars? Just a thousand dollars can transform her life, give us elegant jewellery, way better samosas than the crap that is being sold in restaurants in Maputo. A thousand dollars and most probably 5 people will be out of poverty in a short space of time: her, her 2 kids, her grandchild and her husband.

This is not an emotional blackmail Christian Aid-ish begging campaign for Africa with pot-bellied picture of a black child. I am not asking you to raise funds for Berta either, she is way too proud for that.

It is just that it feels horrible for her to have to make my bed and cook my food with the talent and bright mind she has. My business partner, Nelsa, and I will be supporting Berta by selling her jewellery with our products and find shops willing to sell her food. So, do buy these stuff not because of sympathy but because they are very good quality products that are beautiful and made by someone talented, who is working very hard to live a better life.

Africa is full of Bertas and if we find them, recognise and support their talents, we won't have to listen to "making poverty history" songs anymore.

Capulana heaven

So, I have officially sold Pronto to a friend and I know he will take a great care of my “first born”....And, I have just started another business with my favourite Mozambican designer, Nelsa Matavele. I feel very lucky to be in this position and am grateful for the opportunity (I don’t even mind being totally broke). I first saw Nelsa’s bags and accessories in a shop and was very impressed with her designs and finishing touches. If I saw these products in retail shops in the UK, I would have bought them. I bought few of her bags and tried to get in touch with her to see if she might be interested in doing business together.

After months of asking around and looking for her on Facebook and other social networks, I finally found her on Flicker, of all places. I sent her a msg with my phone number. She replied 2 months later! I had given up on her by then but was so excited to hear back from her.

Nelsa uses local popular Mozambican fabric (Capulana) to make bags, accessories, kitchen stuff and a lot more. I love the fact that every item she makes is so hard to part with and I want to keep them all for myself. I will keep one of each item she makes in the future, for now, I am staying cool and focusing on business. It is an exciting project and I can’t wait to see how far we can go with this.