Mary Shamwete is married with 4 children between the ages of 21 and 11. Her husband works as a field manager for Chamba Valley. However, his income is often barely enough to buy mealiemeal used to make the staple food called n’shima and oil. For a time, Mary tried using those meager ingredients to make and sell fritters (fried dough), but there was no profit in that venture. For 4 years, she performed the most menial labor imaginable, breaking rocks. In Zambia, there are no stone-crushing machines - only the poorest and most desperate Zambians, sustain the dangerous flying rock shards while they sit in the dirt hitting one rock with another until they shatter. Three days of back breaking work fills a wheelbarrow- for this she would receive $0.75! Some of the rocks she broke went into the concrete to build her family’s home, but she still couldn’t earn a living.
Making handbags with RecycloCraftz has helped Mary bring in income that her family desperately needs. It pays for not only school fees but also the clothing, shoes and books that her children need to attend school. Sometimes, Mary can even buy new clothes for herself.