At MitiMeth, we are not just about making beautiful handmade products but we are also about empowering people and enabling them to be financially independent. Equipping folks to use their gifted hands to earn some kind of livelihood. Believing that small incomes will eventually add up to larger incomes with diligence and persistence.
Fully aware (and distressed) that Nigeria's terrain was rough for the able bodied and cringing at the thought of what it would be like for those who are other-abled. I was laden with a burden to reach out and do more with the physically challenged within my immediate surroundings in Ibadan. After meeting with the Head of Department, Social Work, University of Ibadan, a team of two from MitiMeth decided to visit Oluyole Cheshire Home in the company of a staff member from Christ Foundation. We met with the Matron of the Home and expressed our interest to train residents who were interested in learning handicrafts. We told her what we did and she wondered about the cost implication. We told her it was our service to the community and the training was on us (no charge!). All we needed was for her (the Matron) to provide us was an enthusiastic group ready to learn. She was thrilled beyond words! The very next day, we were pleasantly surprised to see a bus full of residents from Cheshire Home at MitiMeth’s doorsteps. We showed our excited August visitors around the workshop and gave an overview on the process for making handicrafts. They also got to observe the MitiMeth team at work.
The MitiMeth team agreed to conduct on-site training at Oluyole Cheshire Home from August 3 – 7, 2015. We had 15 residents participate in the training which was facilitated by two MitiMeth team members. The trainees were taught how to weave rope and make mats with the water hyacinth stolons. They were shown the different techniques for weaving; the two rope method and the three rope method likewise for the twisting technique. The participants were also taught to make key holders and coasters using water hyacinth woven rope and the matted water hyacinth. Though it took a few of them time, most of the trainees latched on pretty quickly and had a few products to showcase at the end of the training. On an average taking anywhere from 1 to 2 hours to weave two yards of rope and another 45 minutes to complete a product after weaving. The trainees were thrilled and showered the facilitators with prayers at the end of the training.
As of today, five of the fifteen trained are still weaving water hyacinth products. We have also provided routine follow up routinely and additional training support. With suggestions offered to the Matron, a display table was placed within view to showcase products to visitors to the Home. The newly minted Artisans made 70 keyholders and coasters for sale at their Annual Christmas Party on December 11, 2015. They still have a few more and the Cheshire Artisans will give you a very good discount :).
The Oluyole Cheshire experience touched the hearts of each member of the MitiMeth team in a unique way. Most had never had such close interaction with physically challenged persons. My hope is that the principle of giving back – using our talents to enrich others will be part and parcel and of our lives while here on earth.