Monkeybiz, as stated on their website, is a "nonprofit income-generating bead project started in January 2000. Through creating sustainable employment, Monkeybiz focuses on women's economic empowerment and health development in the most economically under-resourced areas of South Africa.
The community now includes 450 artists who work from home so they become self-sufficient, learn how business works and take responsibility for their products. Much like the people working at Ocean Sole who I profiled in February, they earn an income from their creativity and the art they make. Monkeybiz encourages women to have dignity and pride in their work. You can learn more about the artists and their stories here.
Not only is there a focus on women, but also on people with living with HIV and AIDS. For six years Monkeybiz ran a wellness clinic for their HIV positive artists and in 2003, they created an educational beadwork-illustrated book in English and Xhosa called Positively HIV, targeted at people between 15 and 24 to raise their awareness of the issue.
Goals for the future include helping artists establish organic gardens, planting trees in the townships and spreading the spirit of "ubuntu" - a philosophy of interconnectedness and generosity - "I am what I am because of who we all are."
Want to learn more about Monkeybiz and how you can support them? Well, if you've got a minute, okay one minute and 13 seconds, you can watch a video about the organization here. (When else are you going to see Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu and Donna Karan in the same video?)
sure likes them!
For those of you who want to support them with your wallets, you can shop online and, as with most of the groups profiled here you can like them on Facebook to stay in the loop with the latest and greatest.