From a young age, girls in Southern Africa make small beaded squares to express their love, hope and desire. It is often the only marketable skill women have when they’re left unemployed, widowed or seriously ill from the HIV/AIDS epidemic. In order to help these women keep supporting themselves and their families, several South African clinics have set up low-impact craft workshops for women to make squares with the red-ribbon symbol.

David Williams learned of the beaded AIDS ribbons during a 2002 conference in Sydney. He has started selling the beaded ribbons in Sydney -“ and sending the proceeds back to the clinics.

In South Africa they sell for just under $2, and that’s what we buy them for. But it’s ridiculous to sell them here for so little, so we ask for $5 and send the difference back, Williams said. His first payment of $4,000 was delivered recently. It’s just a little project -“ but $4,000 goes a hell of a long way in Rand, he said.

The beaded pins will be on sale at the People Living With HIV/AIDS stall at fair day for $5 and $7. Williams has also recruited a couple of handsome young men to walk around selling them.

Anyone interested in getting involved in the project should contact him on 9360 3680.

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