So as you all know I love to support local and started a segment where we could share, learn and inspire! It is so important to support local and share your findings with others.
During lock down, we are going to do a whole lot of these to highlight these businesses – many of which are taking HUGE strain during this time – and shed some awareness and love to all.
Today is a VERY special feature, as I am sure you will agree. Please can I introduce you to the Rare Bear Project. I was gifted one of these very special rare bears and I fell in love. My lion is on my bed and I can’t stop giving him a squeeze. Knowing he was lovingly made by a special lady here in Joburg, makes my heart swell with pride and happiness.
Rare Bear Project is an incredible organisation where by ladies in our community knit these beautiful animals and receive money for these to support their families.
This incredible project does two things. They create a community for the Rare Diseases SA patients whereby they are gifted these very special #RareBears that are donated through their website via the #Care4Rare programme. The other impact is that this project empowers these lovely women in Kya Sands in Joburg by up skilling them and teaching them to crochet these bears and in turn support their families financially – making a huge difference to their lives.
Check out their Facebook page and Instagram page too please – they would appreciate the follow! Are you keen to purchase a rare bear or donate one to a #RareWarrior – an individual with a rare disease ? Look at their website for more info on how to do this!
They also do special commission pieces. Looking for a sloth? They can do it! Wanting a piglet? They are can do it!
We chatted to the lovely Megan Hunter, the wonderful founder, #RareWarrior and #girlboss behind Rare Bear and she had this to say to us!
Tell us a little bit about the Rare Bear Project?
The #RareBearProject was launched as part of Rare Diseases South Africa’s 2nd birthday. Rare Diseases SA (RDSA) had made the decision to commission bears for their newly registered rare disease patients, which could be gifted to them so that they could have a companion to encourage them in their journey of survival.
BUT, due to the nature of rare diseases, RDSA was looking for unique, handcrafted bears – they wanted BEARS that were RARE.
At the same time a local community project were looking to host a skills clinic for unemployed ladies in the Kya Sands community.
A joint initiative was born, whereby the ladies were taught the skills to crochet #RareBears, and a platform to generate income was provided.
To date, this project has seen over 60 woman up-skilled in the art of crocheting, and provided them with a sustainable, income generating opportunity by making #RareBears which in turn are either donated to a patient, or sold to the public.
What is the Rare Bear Project committed to doing?
- Empowering individuals, as well as growing programme initiatives.
- Improving overall sustainability of the #RareBearProject.
- Providing support, and companionship to those impacted by rare diseases.
- Providing a continuous income stream for the woman making #RareBears.
- Reducing unemployment within the Kya Sands community.
- Up-skilling and training woman of Kya Sands to generate income outside the #RareBearProject.
- Nurturing future entrepreneurs.