In the local town of Grahamstown, approximately 30 km from Kariega Game Reserve, what started as a small initiative to sell 20 necklaces has grown into a project that has to date sold in the vicinity of 760 necklaces, with orders coming in from all over the globe!
The initiative was started in March 2012 by Tracy Jayne Jeffery, owner of the up-cycle arts and craft store, Kisma & Co. After the rhino poaching incident at Kariega Game Reserve involving Thandi and Themba, Tracy was moved to action.
“Being in Grahamstown, so close to Kariega, our whole community was rocked by the terrible news of the attack on the three Rhinos on the reserve. The constant updates by Kariega and Dr Fowlds brought home how tragic, senseless and vicious these attacks are. Hearing every day how Themba and Thandi were fighting to live left me with a sense of such helplessness. Not having money to donate or the words to make a difference I tried to think of a way I could help. I use my hands to make a living, so I designed the necklaces with materials I had in my stash, added info about Thandi and Themba and I tried to point out that if each person does a little something, tells the story to one other person, we could maybe make a difference. I found that Kariega had started a fund for Thandi and Themba and that seemed a fitting place for the few Rands I thought we might make of the 20 necklaces I sold in my shop. That was about 760 necklaces ago!”
Each necklace is sold for R25, and for each necklace purchased R20 is donated to the Save the Rhino fund of the Kariega Foundation. The Rhino Tear project didn’t start out to make a lot, but many people showed their support and the project has grown from strength to strength.
“I ran out of the glass stones to make them and then people brought in and donated stones. One lady posted me a bag from Pretoria! Beth in East London has bought and donated hundreds of the bags I use to package them. Michelle, Erica, Jerusha and Tapiwa have cut so many boxes up for the package backing. And I have another 400 or so under construction. I’ll keep making them as long as the Rhino’s need the help. With so many good people fighting – we must make a difference!”
Even in winter, when everybody is huddled up in scarves and jackets (no necklaces in sight), Tracy thought of a great way to keep the Rhino Tears project strong – Rhino Tear earrings! These lovely additions can be purchased for R40, or you can get a necklace and earring set for R65.
A BIG thank you to everyone involved!
From everyone at Kariega Game Reserve including Thandi and Themba, we would like to send a very special thank you to everyone who has supported this initiative - every Rhino Tear drop has joined in to make a river of change! And of course a BIG thank you especially to Tracy herself who has put so much positive, wonderful work into Rhino Tears.
Supporting Rhino Tears
Kisma & Co is conveniently located on High Street in Grahamstown, so if you are travelling in the area, be sure to stop by for a browse – other than Rhino Tears you can stock up on some lovely, hand-crafted and environmentally friendly items for your gift drawer!
Visit the Kisma & Co Facebook page or the Kisma & Co website to check out some of their great products or find out more about Rhino Tears. You can also contact Tracy at email@example.com to enquire or place an order – the necklaces or earrings can be posted anywhere in the world, and postage in South Africa is free!
Tracy also has her own line of up-cycled products – Kisma Kreative 'Turning trash into treasure'. You can visit the Kisma Kreative Facebook page to check out some of her ingenious kreations!