Traditional African clothing - Shweshwe
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Sissi Shwe-shwe Traditional African Clothing

Girls' dresses made from Shweshwe cloth

"Sissi" means "sister", and the word is used as a familiar form of address for women and girls all over South Africa. Shwe-shwe is a type of printed cloth used to make traditional Basotho clothing. It consists of geometric patterns printed on brightly-dyed calico cotton cloth. It was introduced to the area by French and German missionaries in the early 19th Century, and was adopted by the people with the approval of King Moshoeshoe 1 (alternatively spelled "Moshweshwe"), after whom it was named. It remains popular to this day.

Sissi Shwe-shwe is a fledgling fair-trade venture operating at Karma Backpackers. Sissi is working to empower a group of unemployed ladies from the township of Tlholong by teaching them embroidery and beading skills, which they use to produce smocked sun dresses and pinafore dresses for small girls, and panelled skirts (wraps) for adult women. Each dress is unique, and made of genuine traditional Three Cats shwe-shwe material.

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Pupils at Retief School in Kestell

With the help of Pat and Laura Hessel from Canada, we send four pupils to the local comprehensive school. They get full bursaries and all four of them are doing extremely well. We are very proud of all of them but especially Pontsho Mokoena, who came top of her class.

Veggie garden at village school in Lesotho

With the help of Pat and Laura Hessel from Canada, we have provided equipment to build a large vegetable garden at the school. This garden provides vegetables for the school children's lunch, and to take home for the vulnerable children who don't have parents, women also sell these vegetables across the border in South Africa.

Pupil at Serako High School in Lesotho

Karma Backpackers sends a student to high school. He has a full bursary and is doing very well.

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