Chikumbuso began as a small income generating project in January 2005 with one widow caring for seven children. Over the years, Chikumbuso’s growth and many life changing projects can be attributed to these handbags. Chikumbuso continually invites new widows to join the community and the ladies hone their artistic skills to create beautiful bags.
Our project is located in Ng’ombe compound in Lusaka, Zambia. Extreme poverty in Ng’ombe is very common, HIV/AIDS prevalence is 15.2% of 15-49 year olds according to 2007 statistic from UNICEF. As the major breadwinners sicken and die, extended families expand to take in nieces and nephews. It is not uncommon to find a widow struggling to support more than ten children in a one or two room block house with little or no opportunity to make money and feed the many hungry mouths.
Widows in the Chikumbuso community meet in a former bar that has transformed into a community center and school. The ladies work together, encouraging one another, teaching one another new crochet stitches and designs. The bags are sold in our new store at the Chikumbuso Community Center. We also ship bags overseas for purchase in various countries, mainly the United States.
The bag sales are the cornerstone of Chikumbuso. Every bag sold adds a little bit more light into a dark place, a little more hope that tomorrow will be better.