The seed of boMake Rural Projects was planted when Jenny Thorne founded Gone Rural (Pty) Ltd in Swaziland in 1992. Jenny had a vision to empower Swazi women in rural communities by giving them a voice, status in the community and the chance to earn an income using their talent and traditional skills.
She had often helped women with school fees or with food in lean times and knew that the artisans she was working with had health and other needs not addressed by their work for Gone Rural. Jenny wanted to start a project to help the artisans and their communities with mobile health clinics and with school fees. Sadly, Jenny died before her idea had been realized but Gone Rural took steps to make her vision a reality.
Gone Rural boMake was started in 2006. boMake means ‘women’ in siSwati—the women weavers of Gone Rural were central to the new venture to assist women and their communities through social upliftment programmes. Our education, social and health projects began in the 52 communities in which the artisans live. Our founding director, Zoe Dean-Smith, was a partner in Gone Rural.
To continue the analogy, our seedling has now grown into a young tree. In 2017, we decided to establish Gone Rural boMake as an independent entity with a new identity: boMake Rural Projects. However, we remain close to the mother tree: the artisans of our founding company are still at the heart of our projects. Although boMake Rural Projects is now an independent non-profit organization, we maintain a close relationship with Gone Rural.
Thanks to the commitment of individuals and organizations and the dedicated endeavours of the boMake team over the years, we have much to be proud of.
What’s next? We have many plans for the future and this tree has a whole lot of growing to do. With your help, we can reach more women, families and communities. Support boMake now!