Christopher Hardwick, of Imbil, has headed to Tanzania to teach villagers some of his jewellery trade. He is pictured at a Sunshine COast Art Prize exhibition opening.
Christopher Hardwick, of Imbil, has headed to Tanzania to teach villagers some of his jewellery trade. He is pictured at a Sunshine COast Art Prize exhibition opening. Erle Levey

African villagers to benefit from jeweller's generous spirit

A SUNSHINE Coast jeweller has travelled to Tanzania with the tools of his trade to conduct workshops to improve the lives of villagers.

Christopher Hardwick left the Sunshine Coast on November 17 to conduct jewellery-making workshops at The Small Things Organisation (TSTO) in Nkoaranga for poverty-stricken villagers.

Mr Hardwick, a contemporary jewellery artist of merit, said he had contacted TSTO and spoken to the founder, Bekka Ross-Russell, after researching her book on gendered-jewellery.

"I volunteered my services for one year with TSTO to instruct the villagers in jewellery-making and to assist with the development of a cottage industry,” he said.

Mr Hardwick said through his own childhood of domestic and emotional neglect, he had become aware of his need to contribute to the orphans of Nkoaranga.

"I knew there was a way I could help, because I believe that being an unskilled parent is not an acceptable reason for any child to starve or become an orphan,” he said.

While volunteering at the Nkoaranga Orphanage in 2010, Bekka Ross-Russell identified a need for programs that would reunite stricken families and provide parents with an income.

"Poverty forces parents to bring their children to the orphanage because they are unable to provide enough food, or medical care for them,” Ms Ross-Russell said.

"The Happy Family Children's Village and the Family Preservation Program are under the umbrella of TSTO and are linked to provide 24-hour home-care for the children of parents who are learning a trade to improve family life.”

Ms Ross-Russell said TSTO owed its success to volunteers such as Mr Hardwick who cared for the health and well-being of underprivileged children.

"Mr Hardwick's contribution will not only help villagers create a better life for themselves, it will also stop the need to send children to boarding schools that are rife with abuse in Tanzania,” Ms Ross-Russell said.

TSTO assistant administrator and spokeswoman Teressa Walsh said before Mr Hardwick's arrival that the villagers were excited.

"The villagers are eager to learn,” Ms Walsh said.


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