Tie-ing Together Two Continents: Sizanani’s in Fashion!

Do you or a loved one have neckties that you’re no longer wearing?

What about a vest from a 3-piece suit that’s gathering dust in a closet? 

Might you have some leftover lace or other trimmings that you’d like to see upcycled?

Sizanani campers and vochellis, under the auspices of the Financial Literacy and Entrepreneurship Program (FLEP), will be trained by skilled seamstresses/tailors to redesign and repurpose your donations into wearable art for the benefit of Camp Sizanani.

Here are photos of some samples of up-cycled vests, necklaces, and a necklace being used as a headband by one of the campers!



In December 2016, April Benson, one of our Board members, spent nine heart-warming days as a Vochelli at Camp Sizanani teaching arts and crafts and meditation. She had taken a class in making wearable art from men’s' neckties and wanted to do the project with the campers, so she brought 2 large duffel bags to South Africa filled with richly patterned men’s neckties and other materials (shoe laces, fabric remnants, etc.) which she had gathered from friends and neighbors. 

During the arts and crafts sessions, the refashioned materials re-emerged as necklaces, bracelets, and whatever other objects spontaneously arose in the course of this creative art play. Both counselors and campers made colorful, inventive, original wearable art, all while singing and dancing!


Since April 2018, April and Mpumi Maesela, our South Africa Director of Camp Sizanani Life Skills  have been brainstorming the idea of a Wearable Art Project.

The proposed business model is: selling wearable art in the form of vests, necklaces, and bracelets made from refashioned materials as a means of generating income for funding Global Camps Africa initiatives.   

·     Vochellis/Campers, who have been trained by skilled seamstresses/tailors, will be refashioning donated material into wearable art. Vochellis/Campers will be paid a salary OR a stipend, plus revenue share for products made. Primary materials used in making the wearable art will be: Men’s 3-piece suit vests; Men’s neckties, lace, trimming.  Material donations will be sourced from South Africa and the US.

·     The vests, necklaces, and bracelets will be sold in the US (by Global Camps Africa) and South Africa (Camp Sizanani Life Skills) via: (1) the websites; and (2) at GCA events.

·     Project Rollout: We plan to begin the project with the creation of 20 vests. Four Campers/Vochellis will be trained by a skilled seamstresses/tailors. The 20 vests will then be made, promoted and sold to test the project model. Necklaces and bracelets will also be made.


·     Developmental Impact: In the Vochelli and Camper communities, the levels of poverty and unemployment are very high; a large portion of young people and children are food insecure.   The impact of the project directly addresses the material needs of the Vochellis/Campers: (1) Skills development for at least 4 Vochellis/Campers; (2) Vochellis/Campers earn an income from the project and can possibly utilize their acquired skills to earn income independent of the project (i.e. making other wearable art and selling it in their communities); and (3) refashioning helps reduce textile waste (environmental benefit).

·     Promotion of Global Camps Africa’s other initiatives: The wearable art is also indirectly a promotional tool for Global Camps Africa and its initiatives.

·     Non-Cash Donations: This project gives donors that may not have the monetary funds to contribute, an opportunity to make in-kind donations. In South Africa, in-kind donations are increasingly becoming popular for individual and corporate donors.

·     High potential for profits and impact: As much as possible, production inputs and expenses will be covered by direct donations, this way profits from sales will be maximized.  Profits can be reinvested in the Project and other Global Camps Africa initiatives, which benefits children affected by HIV/AIDS 

Please mail your donations of men’s ties and vests to:
Global Camps Africa
11911 Freedom Drive, Suite 850
Reston, VA 20190