Apendiwe Momade sits in the shade outside her home in rural Mozambique, next to a billowing pile of dried grass. Her legs are outstretched on one of her homemade mats, her fingers a blur as she expertly twists the grass into intricate patterns. For Apendiwe, learning to weave was just another household skill, passed down from generation to generation.
Apendiwe and her neighbours in Palma used to weave at home, alone or with a few friends. But with support from Aga Khan Foundation, they opened a weaving workshop and started working together – and turned their talents into a profitable business.
Working together means the women of Vumilia Upathe can hire other people to collect the raw materials for their weaving, and can produce larger quantities of products to sell. They were trained in the basics of business, as well as numeracy and literacy.
Since Apendiwe joined the group, she has earned enough money to build a new home, and was recently voted vice-president of the group. “I enjoy the work I’m doing,” says Apendiwe. She plans to buy goats and build an enclosure for them, and put a better roof on the home where her mother lives. “When I am weaving… I feel good.”