The Montessori ethos supports the fact that children learn through doing. The child displays confidence and joy learning among other children. They develop self-belief and satisfaction in their successes and improve their abilities to solve problems. This will lead to one of the greatest gifts a child can receive, independence.
Independence is the freedom from the control, influence, support, aid, or the like, of others. This too, is the aim of the Cape Town Society for the Blind (CTSB). They strive to provide their members with the ability to learn skills that will provide them with an income for life.
When you buy a basket from Childrens House, you are not just buying a basket, you are fulfilling the dreams of a person who is blind or visually impaired. We partnered with the CTSB asking them to design baskets suitable for a Montessori environment. They leapt at
the challenge, and after a few samples, we settled on 2 products. This week we feature the small basket 18cm long x 15cm wide x7cm deep. Built as a general purpose basket to aid various activities.
As you lift this basket, think of the fact that this has NOT been made by a machine. The cane was collected, by hand, from a humid, wet equatorial climate and shipped to South Africa. It takes 3 hours to prepare the cane and the material to start the weaving process. Thereafter, the canes soak in a bath of water for an hour, making them pliable for the manufacturing process. The final step is the quality control process, to singe off the fine hairs and certify the canes for use.
The weaver, who runs his own small business unit (SBU), receives an order, and swings into action. He/she orders the canes and wooden bases from CTSB. They lay down the framework and the serious work begins. Each weaver has his or her own unique designs. They certainly know how to make it look easy, but it is hard laborious work, taking its toll on the hands (which have now become their eyes). Within 2 to 3 hours a small basket appears in the hands of the weaver. The CTSB acts as the co-operative between the weavers and us. The weavers work from their home environment or come into the CTSB to use their premises for the work. This option is easier for large projects and also provides a social environment for the weavers who are a close-knit group.
Remember, this basket was made with the love and energy of a person with heart, who has overcome struggles beyond our understanding. With your purchase, you have given the weaver a reason to continue, dignity and pride in their skills, not to mention the ability to earn a sustainable income and to feed their family. Teachers, this is a great opportunity to let the children know how the material is made.