It might feel as though Madiba’s vision that we bought into is no longer a possibilty. But the great man once said “It always seems impossible until its done.” Two visionary organisations, Feathers of Knysna and YFC Knysna, have partnered in a new dream to bring hope to the next generation of leaders in Knysna. You can join in the glow of their optimism and the difference that they are making.
Feathers of Knysna was one of the icons of the town during its spectacular growth as a tourism destination. The iconic business contributed to the wave of hope that spread throughout the town by employing more than 80 people in the factory and spreading the brand of Knysna around the world. Now the factory, that brought prosperity and hope to many families in Knysna, is involved in an exciting new partnership to inspire a new generation in the town. It has become a hive of activity as the new home for Youth for Christ Knysna (YFC) and has already touched the lives of many youth who are in desperate need of a good dose of Madiba’s message of hope and prosperity.
“As a business that has been part of the inspiring years of prosperity in Knysna, we have been moved to leave a legacy by buying in to the much-needed initiatives of YFC in the town,” said the Director of Feathers of Knysna. “The future of our great town depends of the next generation of leaders and it is time for all of us to become part of the YFC team effort.”
A HIVE OF ACTIVITY
YFC Director, Philip Schröder and his team, have quietly moved into the Feathers Factory building and it has once again become a hive of activity. “The activities on our new home are touching the lives of so many young lives. We appreciate the decision by the Feathers of Knysna Board to become part of a drive to bring hope and equip the youth of our town for a future of possibility rather than the hopelessness of unemployment.” The Feathers of Knysna Board and Schröder have highlighted their hope that many locals in Knysna will become part of the activities at their new premises.
“Individuals and businesses can make a meaningful impact on the future of our youth by doing the Hope Tour at the factory, or by pledging finances or resources to the exciting initiatives being realised there,” says Schröder, “I know that Knysna locals have a heart for our youth and this is an ideal opportunity to make a real difference to young lives and the future.”
HISTORY OF FEATHERS
The Feathers of Knysna story began 30 years ago and the product range included ceramic castings of wildlife, ceramic birds and an incredible range of artistically stylised wooden birds which were exported to many countries across the globe. Feathers of Knysna were the choice for bird and wildlife corporate gifts, having the distinction of being commissioned for Presidents and Royalty, and many prestigious companies requiring trophies and gifts. At the end of April 2016, the Feathers of Knysna owners retired after being an integral part of Knysna for many years and YfC has taken occupation of the Feathers Showroom, adding this to the hive of activity at the factory.
iTHEMBA – CONTINUING THE LEGACY
Feathers of Knysna further blessed YfC Knysna by enabling them to acquire the remaining stock when they closed. The Feathers of Knysna birds are now available at the iThemba Craft & Skills Development Centre that is situated at the factory. Josephine May, who worked for Feathers of Knysna for 26 years, is still at the premises and will be available for sales of the remaining birds and repairs to damaged birds. YFC Knysna will also commence with the manufacturing of the more popular birds like the Knysna Loerie and African Hoopoe. This will add value to iThemba where YfC hopes to train some young students in the art of ‘bird-making’.
iThemba seeks to empower young men and women in our community with courses that have been designed for the upliftment and economic development of the youth from vulnerable and disadvantaged communities. Both practical and life skills are imparted to students, equipping them with the essential tools to enter the work place or start their own business. Products made are sold as part of the iThemba income generating strategy and each student receives a portion of the funds. The rest of the funds are invested back into the program for materials and equipment. Current programs presented at iThemba are basic sewing, arts & crafts, picture framing, computer skills and a DJ school.
HANDS & HEART
The Hands & Heart Skills Development Program is also housed in the revitalised factory. This iconic initiative is designed to empower young men to develop their full potential and to seize both employment and personal growth opportunities. The success of the program has been proved over the past two years with 28 young men completing the course and graduating from the Hands & Heart Skills Development Program. Not only have they been equipped with the necessary skills and tools to enter the job market, but do so as well rounded young men with the passion to take the next steps in their future.
This is achieved through a one year program that teaches students practical skills such as carpentry, welding, metal work, brick laying and paving, as well as plumbing and tiling. The program also promotes emotional and spiritual development through social communications, leadership training, self development and problem solving skills. Entrepreneurial skills training focus on enabling the students to learn the skills to start and run their own businesses.
Schröder has appealed to locals and businesses to take the Hope Tour through the factory. “You will experience the sense of hope and possibilty that we can achieve together and get a sense of the legacy we can create for the future of our town. In a time of challenges in our country, you can become part of a dream team and experience the glow of making a difference to the future of our town through our youth.”
YFC Knysna is situated at 13 Uil Street, Knysna Industrial Area (The previous Feathers of Knysna building). Regular tours can be booked by calling 044 3827474 / 044 3824937.