Ondella's Story by Cindy Tyrrell

Today we are really thrilled to share our first story with you. We thought that for our first interview we would share the story of one of the first mothers that started beading with Kidz Positive, Ondella*.

Currently Ondella lives in her sister’s RDP house as she is living in the Eastern Cape. She is the sole breadwinner for her family, supporting her two children aged 12 and 20. She also supports and cares for her sisters two children. Ondella started beading in 2003.

She first heard about the bead work project through Dr. Paul Roux, the doctor at the Groote Schuur Hospital HIV clinic at the time. In the beginning, Dr. Roux gave 20 of the mothers a wooden loom and some beads and told them to try and make some bead work items. This was done to give the women something to do, to feel that they had purpose and to encourage them to create.

At the time, none of them had done any bead work before. This was totally unchartered territory, but these women were determined to take what they had been given and learn how to work with the beads. They made a lot of mistakes, but slowly they learned and got better at it.

Currently it costs Ondella R54 to get to the bead work project and  back home every day. However, the project provides an income and hope for her and her family. When she first joined, it was because she needed the money but now, she really enjoys it and finds it relaxing. Ondella finds that doing bead work takes her mind off her problems. She also enjoys creating beautiful work, in particular making friendship bracelets on the loom. She doesn’t really enjoy doing hand beadwork.

Ondella has many hopes and dreams for the future, “I am hoping we get more orders so I can earn enough money to support my kids and my sister’s kids, as well as pay my bills. It has been very difficult for us with the Covid virus, as we have lost so many of our normal regular orders, It has made me very depressed.”

By supporting Kidz Positive you are directly assisting Ondella to support her two children, and her sisters two children. 

Anything you want, beaded. 

*Names have been changed to protect the identity of HIV+ positive women