Follow Sishemo on Instagram & Facebook!
Love their beads & baubles, but can’t travel to Zambia anytime soon? That’s okay! You can now follow the Sishemo Bead-Making Studio on social media. Share, like, or comment to show your support of the talented Sishemo artisans!
About the Sishemo Bead-Making Studio
Sishemo (meaning “mercy” in Lozi) are a group of 7 local community members, all identified for the project by the community leadership with support from the Ministry of Community Development, based on their vulnerability and potential.
The 7 artisans range from 21 to 65 years old, and collectively support over 40 family members and dependents, of which 14 are children. Their households bring in an average of around $50 per month through informal piece work and some have been forced to resorted to sex work to feed their families. Employment opportunities in Nakatindi are extremely limited, particularly for women and for those who did not complete their education. 50% of the Sishemo members report regularly being unable to pay school fees for their children, and just 2 of the members completed their own secondary education due to lack of funding for school fees.
In 2018, the group underwent intensive training in how to make glass beads using traditional African techniques. The glass is recycled from discarded bottles from Sanctuary Sussi & Chuma and the kiln is made from locally-sourced bricks and termite-mound clay. The artisans painstakingly fire and shape each bead by hand, creating unique shapes, colors and designs. These beads are then used to make one-of-a-kind necklaces, bracelets, earrings and other bead products.
Through the Sishemo Bead enterprise, these women have chance to dramatically improve their livelihoods, and the health, education and prospects of their families.