ZIMBO Arts Co-Op was a vision brought to life by husband-wife duo Elly Raisi and Waddington Raisi, who started their journey together in life and love after meeting in Waddington’s home of Zimbabwe, Africa. With a shared sense of passion and social responsibility, Elly and Waddy have committed their lives to empowering communities in Zimbabwe by providing meaningful and stable employment, while also giving back to a variety of community programs including football (soccer) and traditional dance clubs for children.
The Beading Arts Co-Op in Chitungwiza, Zimbabwe specifically educates struggling mothers and women on how to create beautiful beaded artwork. Alongside our shop manager Yolanda Raisi we aim to equip these women with skills to financially support themselves and their families. The Co-Op offers steady, stable and fair employment after graduating from our Beaded Art Apprentice Program.
With headquarters now based in Fort Collins, Colorado with their two young children, Tanyaradzwa and Fiona, Elly and Waddy are dedicated to making ZIMBO Arts a thriving and viable entity aimed at helping countless people around Zimbabwe.
We are compassionate individuals who strive to give others the education needed to lift themselves out of poverty. Through the creation of our Art Cooperatives, we are able to create steady and stable employment for struggeling families creating culturally traditional artworks. The art created in our Co-Ops are not only beautiful gifts for you but also help us fund a number of community programs around Zimbabwe.
ABOUT WHERE WE WORK
Sitting at 4,751-feet in the Harare Province of Zimbabwe, Africa, Chitungwiza is the largest high density town in Zimbabwe. With its lush landscape and urban living, it’s the best of both worlds, but sadly, Zimbabwe in general is a low income and food-deficient country. Approximately 72.3 percent of people in Zimbabwe live below the poverty line on less than $1.25 USD a day, while some rural families survive on as little as $4.70 per month.
With an estimated 80 percent unemployment rate, many are left with no cash income for their daily needs. Most will rely on barter, trade and credit to survive. Many days both men and women will sit the whole day in the scathing sun selling what they can — sweets, used cooking oil, old clothing — to make a living and may still come home with next to nothing. It is important to contribute all we can to help these communities to help them begin to thrive again.
WHY BEADED ART?
Bead and wire creations are of particular importance to the Zimbabwean Shona people, this craft is deeply engrained in their culture. Men and boys grow up crafting toys from scrap wire, beads and recycled aluminum cans. As Zimbabwe sits now, there are limited opportunities for people to attain stable employment leaving many to rely on this craft to sustain their livelihoods. The beaded art is a way for people to earn steady incomes so they’re able to pay their rent, afford school fees, provide food for their families, and more.