TRADE SKILLS STUDIO

Our Story

The Grahamstown Project is a social business. We have partnered with the British Charity Khanya to provide Trade Skills Training in Grahamstown. Khanya’s motto is “building skills for life”. This most certainly applies to Grahamstown.

Our model integrates charitable funding, business principles and carefully thought out skills training programmes to grow the economy of Grahamstown.

Our vision is to grow the skills-base and draw money into Grahamstown. It’s humble beginnings but we believe we can export significant volumes of high-quality products made in our Trade Skills Studio’s and sourced from our Trade Skills Entrepreneurs. 

The Grahamstown Project’s Online Shop is a platform for the people of Grahamstown to sell high-quality products to people all over the world who are connected to Grahamstown and care about Grahamstown.

 We are launching this component of The Grahamstown Project vision, mission and plan with a Box-set of Christmas gifts that have been hand-crafted  by people in Grahamstown. Each of the 12 products in the Box-set has been carefully chosen. We’ve tried to match our capabilities and potential as a team with what we think will be a perfect selection of Christmas gifts for you to give family and friends. There’s something for everyone.

 It’s been a tough year and, as The Grahamstown Project (virtual) team, this is one of the things we’ve been working on. Your support will be greatly appreciated.

The Box-Set of Christmas Gifts includes:

1.      The Bag: A beautiful Shweshwe bag with genuine Grahamstown leather straps. Made by Sabelo Bill and his team of Trainee seamstresses at the Seven Fountains Sewing Class set up by Lalibela Game Reserve. This bag is great for the beach or shopping adventure. The products below are beautifully packed into your bag, placed in a box, and delivered to your home as a Christmas Box Set.

2.      The Grahamstown Eco-Donkey: Designed and made by Hilary Mohr, our expert Sewing Skills Trainer consultant. The loveable Eco-Donkey is iconic Grahamstown in two respects. Sometimes loveable, sometimes naughty, donkeys are a feature of the Grahamstown landscape. Unfortunately, so too is plastic. A menace of the modern age. Your Grahamstown Eco-Donkey is stuffed with clean, recycled plastic.

3.      The Grahamstown Warmth-Donkey: Best mates with Eco-Donkey, the Grahamstown Warmth-Donkey is filled with rice. Pop me in the microwave and I become the perfect hand-warmer.

4.      Table-Runner: Nobesthu Nkontsa is a Joza based seamstress. Formerly employed at Kwandwe as a chef, circumstances have forced her to Work from home as a seamstress. Nobesthu has a heart of gold and a warm smile. She immediately jumped at the opportunity to be part of this project. Nobesthu has two Trainees she teaches 3 mornings per week. Trainees are paid a learnership allowance funded by the Khanya Charity.
5.      Set of 6 Place-mats: Made by Sabelo Bill and his team. The Place-mats – as with all items in the box – are colour themed. A Box-set is a Box-set. The only choice is the Colour / Pattern theme but we promise you will love your selection. The individual products and colour / pattern variants will be available on our Online Shop from 1 December 2020.

6.      Tote Bag: Designed by Hilary Mohr, these multi-purpose bags are made in The Grahamstown Project’s Sewing Skills Studio. Mbulelo Lukwe is our  Head Trainer and Hilary Mohr volunteers her  time and skills on a twice-weekly consulting basis. On 9 September 2020, Mbulelo started training  Ilene Makwetu, Zintombi Zabo and Sinazo Snoti who each receive a daily learnership allowance from the Khanya Charity. To cut costs, the Sewing Skills Studio was set up in an outside room at Graeme & Vanessa Holmes’ home. Sewing Machines were donated and purchased and a deal was struck with Nombulelo High School who had in their strong-room 9 old manual sewing machines. The Grahamstown Project serviced the machines and in exchange for their use, Mbulelo and Sabelo Bill (a Nombulelo Old Boy) teach a Sewing Skills at Nombulelo for two mornings a week.

7.      Set of 6 Serviettes: Lovingly made in the Sewing Skills Studio. Ilene, Zintombi, and Sinazo made these as part of their training. The trainees demonstrated their ability to sew straight lines and corners and then graduated to more complex projects. Trainees start as Grade O’s and as their skills and competencies grow they move through the grades. Grade 4’s are competent tailors and seamstresses and are qualified to teach trainees as well as supply product to The Grahamstown Project as Trade Skills Entrepreneurs.

8.      Small Apron: Made in the Sewing Skills Studio, this beautiful Shweshwe apron is a pattern copy of Vanessa’s favourite apron.

9.      Big Apron: A butcher’s apron to go with the delicious and healthy venison, lamb and other speciality meats supplied by The Farm Butchery, Adelaide. We home-deliver to Johannesburg and Cape Town. During December we’ll also be delivering weekly to Kenton-on-Sea, St Francis Bay, and Plettenberg Bay so don’t forget to place your order and stock up for Christmas. While you are at it stock up with delicious, home-made Shelbi’s Ice-Cream.

10.     Leather Cards-holder: Andrew Wolff is a multi-talented craftsman. To view his broad range of belts, bags, hunting accessories, and other leather products go to #Alpha_Belts Instagram page. Andrew has used Warthog leather in his beautiful and functional Cards-holder. As a former banking executive in the Credit Card industry, Graeme strives to live a cashless life and Andrew’s leather Cards-holder is perfect for his bank cards, ID and drivers licence. Leather is synonymous with Grahamstown. It is the home of the International School of Tanning Technology and together with Andrew we hope to grow this avenue of our training programmes and social business.
11.     Wood and resin pendant: These attractive pendants are made by Sigqibo Mazungula in our Carpentry Skills Studio. Sigqibo has come through the ranks of Exulhweni home for orphaned children and the Amasango Careers School. Jane Bradshaw and Virginia Parkes have mentored and sponsored Sigqibo for much of his life. Sigqibo is trained by Claude Baines who was intricately involved in the Khanya Trade School pilot programme.
12.     Face-Mask: Made in the Sewing Skills Studio. What Covid Christmas Box-set of Gifts would be complete without a mask?

Our Story

The Grahamstown Project is a social business. We have partnered with the British Charity Khanya to provide Trade Skills Training in Grahamstown. Khanya’s motto is “building skills for life”. This most certainly applies to Grahamstown.

Our model integrates charitable funding, business principles and carefully thought out skills training programmes to grow the economy of Grahamstown.

Our vision is to grow the skills-base and draw money into Grahamstown. It’s humble beginnings but we believe we can export significant volumes of high-quality products made in our Trade Skills Studio’s and sourced from our Trade Skills Entrepreneurs. 

The Grahamstown Project’s Online Shop is a platform for the people of Grahamstown to sell high-quality products to people all over the world who are connected to Grahamstown and care about Grahamstown.

 We are launching this component of The Grahamstown Project vision, mission and plan with a Box-set of Christmas gifts that have been hand-crafted  by people in Grahamstown. Each of the 12 products in the Box-set has been carefully chosen. We’ve tried to match our capabilities and potential as a team with what we think will be a perfect selection of Christmas gifts for you to give family and friends. There’s something for everyone.

 It’s been a tough year and, as The Grahamstown Project (virtual) team, this is one of the things we’ve been working on. Your support will be greatly appreciated.

The Box-Set of Christmas Gifts includes:

1.      The Bag: A beautiful Shweshwe bag with genuine Grahamstown leather straps. Made by Sabelo Bill and his team of Trainee seamstresses at the Seven Fountains Sewing Class set up by Lalibela Game Reserve. This bag is great for the beach or shopping adventure. The products below are beautifully packed into your bag, placed in a box, and delivered to your home as a Christmas Box Set.

2.      The Grahamstown Eco-Donkey: Designed and made by Hilary Mohr, our expert Sewing Skills Trainer consultant. The loveable Eco-Donkey is iconic Grahamstown in two respects. Sometimes loveable, sometimes naughty, donkeys are a feature of the Grahamstown landscape. Unfortunately, so too is plastic. A menace of the modern age. Your Grahamstown Eco-Donkey is stuffed with clean, recycled plastic.

3.      The Grahamstown Warmth-Donkey: Best mates with Eco-Donkey, the Grahamstown Warmth-Donkey is filled with rice. Pop me in the microwave and I become the perfect hand-warmer.

4.      Table-Runner: Nobesthu Nkontsa is a Joza based seamstress. Formerly employed at Kwandwe as a chef, circumstances have forced her to Work from home as a seamstress. Nobesthu has a heart of gold and a warm smile. She immediately jumped at the opportunity to be part of this project. Nobesthu has two Trainees she teaches 3 mornings per week. Trainees are paid a learnership allowance funded by the Khanya Charity.
5.      Set of 6 Place-mats: Made by Sabelo Bill and his team. The Place-mats – as with all items in the box – are colour themed. A Box-set is a Box-set. The only choice is the Colour / Pattern theme but we promise you will love your selection. The individual products and colour / pattern variants will be available on our Online Shop from 1 December 2020.

6.      Tote Bag: Designed by Hilary Mohr, these multi-purpose bags are made in The Grahamstown Project’s Sewing Skills Studio. Mbulelo Lukwe is our  Head Trainer and Hilary Mohr volunteers her  time and skills on a twice-weekly consulting basis. On 9 September 2020, Mbulelo started training  Ilene Makwetu, Zintombi Zabo and Sinazo Snoti who each receive a daily learnership allowance from the Khanya Charity. To cut costs, the Sewing Skills Studio was set up in an outside room at Graeme & Vanessa Holmes’ home. Sewing Machines were donated and purchased and a deal was struck with Nombulelo High School who had in their strong-room 9 old manual sewing machines. The Grahamstown Project serviced the machines and in exchange for their use, Mbulelo and Sabelo Bill (a Nombulelo Old Boy) teach a Sewing Skills at Nombulelo for two mornings a week.

7.      Set of 6 Serviettes: Lovingly made in the Sewing Skills Studio. Ilene, Zintombi, and Sinazo made these as part of their training. The trainees demonstrated their ability to sew straight lines and corners and then graduated to more complex projects. Trainees start as Grade O’s and as their skills and competencies grow they move through the grades. Grade 4’s are competent tailors and seamstresses and are qualified to teach trainees as well as supply product to The Grahamstown Project as Trade Skills Entrepreneurs.

8.      Small Apron: Made in the Sewing Skills Studio, this beautiful Shweshwe apron is a pattern copy of Vanessa’s favourite apron.

9.      Big Apron: A butcher’s apron to go with the delicious and healthy venison, lamb and other speciality meats supplied by The Farm Butchery, Adelaide. We home-deliver to Johannesburg and Cape Town. During December we’ll also be delivering weekly to Kenton-on-Sea, St Francis Bay, and Plettenberg Bay so don’t forget to place your order and stock up for Christmas. While you are at it stock up with delicious, home-made Shelbi’s Ice-Cream.

10.     Leather Cards-holder: Andrew Wolff is a multi-talented craftsman. To view his broad range of belts, bags, hunting accessories, and other leather products go to #Alpha_Belts Instagram page. Andrew has used Warthog leather in his beautiful and functional Cards-holder. As a former banking executive in the Credit Card industry, Graeme strives to live a cashless life and Andrew’s leather Cards-holder is perfect for his bank cards, ID and drivers licence. Leather is synonymous with Grahamstown. It is the home of the International School of Tanning Technology and together with Andrew we hope to grow this avenue of our training programmes and social business.
11.     Wood and resin pendant: These attractive pendants are made by Sigqibo Mazungula in our Carpentry Skills Studio. Sigqibo has come through the ranks of Exulhweni home for orphaned children and the Amasango Careers School. Jane Bradshaw and Virginia Parkes have mentored and sponsored Sigqibo for much of his life. Sigqibo is trained by Claude Baines who was intricately involved in the Khanya Trade School pilot programme.
12.     Face-Mask: Made in the Sewing Skills Studio. What Covid Christmas Box-set of Gifts would be complete without a mask?

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Home Delivery

The Parks / Sandton / Bryanston area

Grahamstown / Port Alfred / Kenton

Cape Town

Next Delivery Dates

“The Parks” / Sandton / Bryanston / Kyalami area: Monday 26 October 2020 - Orders Close 1 pm on Monday 19 October 2020.

Cape Town: Monday 16 November 2020 - Orders Close 1 pm on Monday 9 November 2020.

“The Parks” / Sandton / Bryanston / Kyalami area: Monday 30 November 2020 - Orders Close 1 pm on Monday 23 November 2020.

Grahamstown / Port Alfred / Kenton - Every Thursday - Orders Close 1 pm on Mondays.