There is no shortage of charitable organizations begging your ear at holiday time, but I chose this one to bring to you today, because I truly believe the beaded art pieces by the South African women of Monkeybiz make for amazing decor. The eclectic, world-traveled look is here to stay, and Monekybiz art, ranging in price from $50 to $500, is one of the most genuine ways to create this look in your home (rather than going to a big box store for some ripoff).
Monkeybiz is a bead art project founded by South African artists Barbara Jackson and Shirley Fintz. In a nutshell, they provide women of impoverished South African communities, ravaged by AIDS, malnutrition, lack of education and infrastructure, with a chance to make a real income. By selling their unique beaded sculptures all over the world, Barbara and Shirley are able to keep the women supplied with the materials needed to do their artwork, as well as allowing them to stay at home, where they can take care of their children and loved ones.
In Canada, Monkeybiz sculptures are available through Toronto-based EatMyWords.org, who’ve shipped pieces all over Canada (apparently they’re really popular in Alberta). All pieces are one of a kind, see website for ordering details.
Since its inception in 2000, Monkeybiz has grown to help some 450 women make new lives for themselves, greatly impacting and improving ex-apartheid communities. Check out this little video about the project.