In celebration of International Women’s Day, we would like to share the story behind the JabuLadies, a heartwarming community initiative launched by Jabulani and HERD, with a mission to inspire and empower the incredible women in our local community. In 2021, Adine Roode founded the JabuLadies in response to the lack of employment opportunities in and around Hoedspruit. The JabuLadies project is more than just a creative outlet; it’s a lifeline for women facing limited job options due to family responsibilities.

International Women’s Day is a global celebration recognising the social, economic, cultural, and political accomplishments of women. Taking place annually on March 8th, this day serves as a significant occasion to not only applaud the achievements of women across the world but also to draw attention to the persistent challenges they face. It represents a collective call to action, urging society to advocate for gender equality and women’s rights. In essence, International Women’s Day stands as a symbol of unity, empowerment, and an ongoing commitment to fostering a more inclusive and equitable world.

The Challenge: Unemployment and Skills Shortage in South Africa

South Africa grapples with a staggering unemployment rate, reaching around 32.1% in the fourth quarter of 2023. The youth unemployment rate soared to 59.40%, exacerbating an already dire situation. This crisis is further fueled by a significant shortage of skills, a consequence of inadequate education and limited opportunities. Only 54,3% of women of working age are employed or searching for work. With approximately 55.5% of the population living in poverty, and 25% experiencing food poverty, the need for initiatives like JabuLadies becomes increasingly apparent.

Bridging the Gap: The JabuLadies Project

JabuLadies steps in as a beacon of hope to the local female community. The ladies are taught new skills that can be done at home for those who face the dual challenge of unemployment and family responsibilities. By doing so, we’re actively contributing to closing the gender gaps in both equality and income. Each lady becomes part of a supportive platform that not only provides additional income but also helps develop valuable skills for their future endeavours.

Training is done at our premises in the reserve, which allows the ladies to experience the African bushveld, which is something many have not done despite living in the area. Some of the JabuLadies are also involved in the Land Restoration Project where they work in the reserve to combat damage to the area. If they would like to start their own business in the future, they know a variety of skills from embroidery to brush packing that can be beneficial.

The Personal Touch: Crafting with Love and Care

Each and every creation from the JabuLadies tells a story of their hard work and imaginative spirit. They put in the effort to individually stitch, cut, string, and wrap each product, making sure there’s a personal touch in everything they craft. Whether it’s the vibrant fabric patterns or the intricate designs, every item is crafted with love.

The bracelets, hand-strung with vibrant green, white, and grey beads, bear a sturdy metal “HERD” bead, adding a touch of durability to their aesthetic. Diving into eco-friendly practices, they create soaps and paper using dried elephant dung, offering unique products but also contributing to efficient waste management for our elephant herd. The embroidered placemats and bookmarks serve as captivating pieces that artfully capture the essence of the African bushveld, bringing a touch of natural beauty to everyday items.

Celebrating International Women’s Day with JabuLadies

On this special day, let’s take a moment to appreciate the JabuLadies for their incredible journey. Their creativity, resilience, and unity serve as a powerful reminder of the strength found in collaboration, highlighting the importance of supporting and uplifting women in every community. The JabuLadies, all from different backgrounds and environments, work as one and really show how empowering women and building a strong sense of community can make a difference. We hope that their inspiring story motivates us all to continue advocating for the rights and opportunities of women around the world.

Happy International Women’s Day!

To view our merchandise range and purchase JabuLadies products, please visit

To see what a day of making bracelets is like for the JabuLadies, watch the YouTube video below:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Help Save Our Vulnerable Gentle Giants

We rely on incredible people like you to keep us going. Every cent counts, and no contribution is too small. HERD relies on public funding to cover the operational costs to care for and support elephant orphans and the rescued herd, so we really appreciate your support.