Earlier this year we introduced our new Community Upliftment Experience, an opportunity for travellers to learn more about the local community that our lodge is a part of. One of the community projects that we visit on this experience is the Vukani project, a group of elderly and/or disabled men and women who use ordinary glossy (donated) magazines to make the most beautiful items of bead jewellery.
The beads are uniquely African in style and are handmade with cut up strips of magazine paper, glue, and a metal rod. Hideaways donates out of date brochures and magazines to the project and the front of house staff at the lodge all proudly wear necklaces made by the community members. The beads are made into necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and keychains and are a wonderful souvenir for visitors to remember their time in Hwange, as well as excellent gifts for friends and family back home.
The men and women who make the jewellery feel a real sense of pride in creating their products, with many saying they had previously felt like a burden on their family but can now make a valuable contribution. It is also a wonderful opportunity for them to get out of the house and socialise, something that is very important for a generation that may feel left behind or unappreciated.
The visit is an interactive experience, allowing guests the opportunity to chat with the jewellery makers and learn more about their lives, and perhaps even support their initiative. When staying at the lodge be sure to request a Community Experience Upliftment tour. The jewellery is also on sale in the gift shop at the lodge if your tour doesn’t visit the project that day, or if time doesn’t allow you go on the tour, so you are still able to support the initiative in some way.