Well, Monkeybiz does! The local women's empowerment group recently won the United Kingdom's DoUKCare award alongside Nelson Mandela, who won the International Hero Award
Is it possible to fight AIDS with a packet of glass beads? Surprisingly, yes. Cape Town outfit Monkeybiz is a non-profit beading project whose aim is to empower people living with HIV.
The project was set up six years ago by artists Barbara Jackson and Shirley Fintz and Mataphelo Ngaka, and currently generates income for a group of 450 disadvantaged township women.
Monkeybiz also helps keep alive South Africa's long-standing beading tradition. It supplies the brightly coloured beads, and each woman is then paid for every exquisite and entirely unique hand-beaded doll she produces from home. These products are then sold locally and abroad.
This November, Monkeybiz was recognised by the UK AIDS Coalition for its front-line work in Africa and for the innovative ways in which it empowers people living with HIV. The DoUKCare Award highlights achievements in those parts of the world where the UK AIDS Coalition has forged partnerships. Monkeybiz is one of two South African recipients for 2005.
Monkeybiz exhibits at the Design Indaba Expo in February. For more info visit www.designindaba.com or www.monkeybiz.co.za.