The idea for uSisi (which means “sisters” in Zulu) Designs originated during the 1980s in the ethnic “homelands” of the old South Africa – the South Africa of apartheid and forced resettlement areas. The group’s founder, Stella Pretorius, worked with children suffering from disabilities, but found that most were also experiencing severe malnutrition, as their parents could not provide for them. Leaving the healthcare field, she decided to launch a series of income generating activities for these parents; in 2004, uSisi was the latest such project aimed at giving disadvantaged South Africans a means to support themselves and their families.
Since that time, more than one hundred women have worked with the project, earning enough money to put their children through school, build houses and keep food on the table. Currently 40 women from different cultural backgrounds work together to craft the groups’ innovative products. The artisans come into the workshop once or twice a week where they receive their raw materials and instructions. To perform the craft work, they return to their homes, where they can look after their children and households and save money by not traveling every day.
We are a group of women who are keen on building family and developing strong moral and Christian foundations to enable us all to be functional on all levels of life.