If it can be thought it can be done.
This quote by E.A. Bucchianeri from the book Brushstroke of a Gadfly, came to mind when I visited the Shanga workshop in Arusha on my recent visit to Tanzania.This workshop for adults with disabilities grew from a small start in 2007 when Saskia Rechsteiner made necklaces for a Christmas fair in Arusha. http://shanga.org
The workshop is situated on the Burka Coffee Estate in Arusha Tanzania. Here one can have coffee in the beautiful garden at the River House and visit the shop selling various items made by the special people in the workshop.
All the products are made from recycled materials and sold through Shanga Shangaa Ltd., a for profit company which serves to empower the disabled adults who work in the workshops.
I found the glass workshop most fascinating. Five young adults all with hearing loss and no speech, worked in harmony with one another to produce wine glasses and other products from recycled glass. Each knew their role exactly and communicating with gestures they worked fast and accurately with this difficult medium. We were able to observe them making wine glasses of which they can make up to 200 per day.
I took these photos with their permission and trust that anyone looking at them will be in awe of the amazing human spirit and power to overcome obstacles if only the opportunity is created.
Recycled glass being melted
The start of a wneglass
Adding the foot of the glass
The finished product ready to be sold.
We left Shanga with full shopping bags and hearts filled with inspiration by what we saw. Never again will I think I cannot achieve a goal for if it can be thought it can be done!