Bead Buzz: Zimbo Arts Cooperative
Zimbo Arts Cooperative is a nonprofit beading co-op dedicated to creating stable employment and empowering communities and individuals by providing education, jobs, and community support in Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe. Founded by Elly and Waddington Raisi, Zimbo Arts focuses on teaching struggling women the trade skill of bead weaving through a beading apprentice program. After graduating from this six-week training, women are employed to make beautiful beaded sculptures, providing them with the financial stability lacking in so much of their community.
Located in Fort Collins, Colorado, Zimbo Arts sells beaded sculptures at a variety of retail locations, craft fairs, and online. Products range from beaded key chains to lawn ornaments. They give back to the community through a variety of programs, including free daycare for workers, on-site meals, sponsorship of football (soccer) teams and traditional dance clubs for both boys and girls, and a pad-pack program that provides sanitary pads for young girls and women.
To donate and learn more about this nonprofit, its programs in Zimbabwe, and the beaded sculptures available for sale, visit www.zimboarts.org or find them on Facebook: ZIMBO Arts Co-op.
This story is featured in the April/May 2018 issue of Beadwork magazine. All photos courtesy of Zimbo Arts Co-op.