SHONA is a small,grass-roots organization dedicated to empowering handicapped people in Congo, primarily women. We have no outside funding and no paid staff. TRAINING: We provide training and apprenticeship to handicapped women who have already had some experience with sewing. We emphasize the quality control and attention to detail necessary for work in an international market. This training is provided at no cost. JUST WAGES: After a craftsperson has been trained she is paid on a monthly basis for each piece that she sews. The price per piece is representative of the full profit that SHONA typically earns for the sale of that product. * By paying on a monthly basis SHONA provides its craftspeople with a consistent income, and the ability to begin savings programs and financial planning. * By paying 100% of the estimated profit from an item, SHONA rises well above all "Fair Trade" standards.
*By paying in advance, SHONA ensures that the craftspeople are paid in timely and consistent manner, a privilege which is rarely afforded to poor people. EDUCATION: While they are sewing, SHONA women participate in weekly adult education courses. An entire day every week is set aside for these courses, which rotate by month. The courses include Reading and Writing, French, Math, Accounting, Business Skills, Leadership Skills, Faith and Action, Holistic Development, and Health. The courses are free of charge, and funded entirely through our donation page. The women are expected to pay for their transport to the courses as a sign of their commitment, as well as pass exams and complete projects in each course. INDEPENDENCE: As they progress through courses in mathematics, accounting, and business skills, SHONA women are gradually expected to assume responsibility for their own work in the form of a small business. At the beginning of work, they are provided with a bank account, encouraged to save, and after completing the accounting course they are required to submit their accounting books on a monthly basis. Each woman saves money to rent her own workshop (or she can choose to share expenses with another member) and open her own small business. In this way, SHONA seeks to break cycles of dependency and encourages the women to see the work as truly their own.