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Walking in Faith and Footsteps
by Jacqueline Trussell
Founder and President of BlackandChristian.com
Chicago, Illinois

“Faith is reserved for those times when there are no alternatives, when you must 
look to the invisible to do the impossible.

 
(T D Jakes)

Chicago, IL. ..Tselane Tambo is a young woman walking in faith and in the footsteps of her late father, Oliver Tambo. The elder Tambo, along with Nelson Mandela, founded the African National Congress in South Africa. Tselane has been inspired to form an organization, Project 31, “to help empower women who are HIV positive.”

The continent of Africa has been devastated by Aids and women, in particular, are left to find a way to survive while also fighting the illness. Through Project 31, women create marketable merchandise for sale to the general public. Tselane recently traveled to the United States to bring her mission and message here.

Aids Pin designed by 
South African women

Aids Pin
Tselane visited Atlanta, San Diego, and Chicago during her trip to the States. While in Chicago, she met with the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr. at the Rainbow/PUSH headquarters and shared in Sunday services at Salem Baptist Church, where the Rev. James Meeks is pastor. Tselane met Rev. Meeks while he was in South Africa. He was so impressed with the work she is doing  

The beaded red and white pin is a sample of the items produced by the South African women. Tselane proudly displayed beautiful beaded bracelets, earrings, glasses and paper products all made by hand. 

Project 31 is the brainchild of Tselane who embarked on the idea to create a way to not only help women, but preserve a part of the culture through the intricate beadwork used to display their artistry. "This is an art that is being lost," Tselane said. "Project 31 employs women to make these products which are then sold. The money is used to help them feed their families and buy medicine to take care of themselves." 

Bracelet designed by 
South African women

bracelet


Tselane, along with Lisel Erasmus-Kritzinger and Marlize Devantier, have teamed up to form 3inOne. Project 31 is its first initiative. Their vision is to provide 20,000 women with jobs by the year 2005. Their brochure states the aim of 3inOne as, "assisting impoverished and destitute women to a place of sustainable independence through a series of development programs aimed at rebuilding their self-esteem and developing useful skills with an end to producing saleable merchandise and inspiring hope for the future."

Lisel, director of Media and Communication and Marlize, head of Product Design and Development helped to find a sponsor. Amalgamated Banks of South Africa (ABSA) is providing support for the group's effort.

Tselane is seeking to partner with congregations and organizations in the States. Rev. Meeks and Salem are among the first churches to help the Project. “One pin purchased at a cost of $15 can feed a family of four for one week,” said Tselane. “If we can get more churches involved, we can make a difference in the lives of many women and families.” Other organizations that have placed orders include Delta Sigma Theta Sorority. While in Atlanta, Tselane met with Southern Christian Leadership Conference president, Martin Luther King, III who, like Tambo, is following in the footsteps of his father.

The life expectancy of South African females living with HIV is 54. More than 150,000 children were orphaned in 2000. In the next five years, that number is expected to rise significantly.

Tselane says she modeled her work from the words of Proverbs 31. “Who find a virtuous woman? for her price is far above rubies...Give her of the fruit of her hands; and let her own works praise her in the gates.”

Plans are underway for her to return to the States in the next few weeks. “What I do is all for the cause of the Kingdom,” Tselane said. “I am committed to empowering women to reach their full potential and to making a difference to those who are less fortunate.”

2001, BlackandChristian.com. All rights reserved.



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