Meet Refiloe Diutlwileng, a 52-year-old craft artist who is transforming trash into a thriving jewellery business and a skills development and training centre.
Based in the township of Kanana, Klerksdorp, Refiloe is a qualified Maths and Science teacher who decided to leave her full-time career in teaching to peruse her passion for craft art. Refiloe’s decision to pursue her passion for craft art has paid off, she has been running a profitable business that now employs ten young people in her community full-time since the year 2009.
In 2021, she decided to evolve her jewellery business by incorporating skills development and training courses that will teach young and emerging craft artists to make jewellery using waste materials. When we questioned how she came up with the concept of turning her jewellery store into a training facility, she said:
‘’High youth unemployment rate in South Africa was the primary reason I decided to turn my business into a skills development and training centre, I realised that I could make an impact if I impart my skills to the unemployed youth to make them self-employed. Especially after the impact of COVID-19 on our economy. I also realised that I could integrate my experience in teaching together with my passion for craft which was a bonus for me.’’
For ‘Refiloe to fulfil the concept of imparting craft skills to the youth she needed funding which she applied for at the National Art Council. In her funding proposal, she requested funds to register her courses for accreditation and resources to enrol training for 15 young unemployed people in her community. Her funding application was subsequently successfully funded following the impact her business was making in her community.
Through the NAC funds, Refiloe is now a MICT SETA, ETDP SETA, and FP&M SETA accredited Facilitator, Assessor, and Moderator for her craft art programs. She also has successfully enrolled 15 young people in the training courses as per her funding request proposal and some of them have already started their own jewellery businesses. Following this success, she is currently arranging to enrol more young people in her training programs.
Moreover, her business has also integrated eight children living with disability, who uses the art of jewellery craft as a therapeutic mechanism. She is planning to absorb more children who will use the process of turning waste into jewellery as a hobby to keep them away from drugs, gangsterism etc. whilst learning this pivotal skill of craft art.
Her ultimate plan is to grow her business into a franchise and continue to create more job opportunities for the unemployed youth in South Africa.
In her last words, Refiloe said:
‘’I would like to thank the National Art Council for assisting me with funding to pursue my passion in craft art and to make an impact in the development of my community, I will forever be grateful for the opportunity the organisation has provided to me’’
If you wish to support Refiloe and her work, please contact her directly on 084 478 7003 or follow her on Facebook at Refiloe Khumo, alternatively you can email her at firstname.lastname@example.org