The word "uSisi" means “sisters” in Zulu. The idea for uSisi Designs came from founder, Stella Pretorius, during the 1980’s while working with children in South Africa who suffered from disabilities. It was during this work Stella became keenly aware of the severe malnutrition her students were suffering because their parents were unable to adequately provide for them. She left the healthcare field and launched a series of income generating activities for those parents, and in 2004, uSisi was born as the latest such project aimed at enabling South Africans with a means to support themselves and their families.
Since then, more than 100 women have worked with the project, earning enough money to put their children through school, build houses, and consistently put food on their tables. Currently 40 women from various cultural backgrounds, work together to craft uSisi’s innovative products. The artisans arrive at the workshop once or twice a week to receive raw materials and instructions, and return their completed goods for payment. They have the advantage of being able to work from their homes, where they can tend to their children, household chores, and save money by not traveling every day.