Little Travellers an income generation project of the Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust
  • Buselaphi

    Beading has made a positive impact on Buselaphi's life. It has made her the sole breadwinner of her household, and has enabled her to pay for electricity, and to purchase a stove, a fridge and a television. On average, Buselaphi earns R600 a week from making Little Travellers.

  • Ester Sibisi

    Ester Sibisi is a 58 year old mother of four, who also cares for her grandchildren, providing them with food and clothing. Ester first came to the Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust to get information and tips on growing crops and flowers. At the time Ester had no income but knew how to bead. She wanted to join the Woza Moya beading project and before long she was making Little Travellers. Ester is always trying to grow as a beader and enjoys sharing knowledge and receiving lessons from other crafters. Ester is a very spiritual person and she draws strength from her beading and knows that her work is making a positive difference! Seeing a Little Traveller brings a smile to her face, "I know I can accomplish anything in my house by making them", she explains.

  • Gogo Francisca

    "Before, I hadn't got even shoes. Nothing before. I was too frightened to go outside. I was afraid people were going to laugh. I had nothing. Nothing to eat, no clothes. They mean that God helps me. God helps me to do these dollies. He looks after me."

  • Joyce Mthethwa

    Joyce Mthethwa is 53 years old. Her family includes her husband, two sons, two grandsons, two granddaughters, and her cousin. Joyce has been beading for three years, which is also how long she has been making Little Travellers. Each doll takes her less than one hour to make. For Joyce, making Little Travellers is a joy, and because of it, she has a lot more money in the bank at the end of the month.

  • Ntombi Dlamini

    "I often lay them on my sofa and admire them for a while. I look at them and wish they could talk, breath, and walk. That is how much I love them. Beading makes such a big difference in my life, I love it, I make life out of it ... my entire house has come from the Little Travellers, my fridge, my sofa, the plaster on my walls, EVERYTHING!, when I make Travellers I see a person a friend and this is why I make them beautiful because I am making a person"

  • Thandiwe Chamane

    "They may be small, but they have made a big difference to me and my family. I was dying when I started making them, and I had nothing to live for. I now have a house , my children are going to school and I have a reason to live."

About Us

    Fact File

  • Puts food on the table for over 160 crafters. Every Traveller sold equates into a loaf of bread and a litre of milk. The more Travellers sold, the more famillies are fed and employed.
  • Travellers are a symbol of hope. By wearing one, you join the Traveller Family and the fight against HIV/ADIS and poverty.
  • Travellers are sold all over the world by individuals and shops
  • Little Travellers inspired a photographic competition with students and Traveller supporters sending photos of their Travellers from all over the world.
  • Little Traveller movie "Uhambi" was part of the official selection at the 46th Chicago International Film Festival.
  • Little Traveller Heroes climbed Mount Everest with Jeff Dorsett and the Gap EVEREST TEAM INPI(RED) 2008.
  • Little Travellers had a Cake Baking competition at Wien Cake House in Itaewon, Korea in 2008
  • Little Travellers inspired a photographic exhibition in 2008.
  • Karen Monk Klijnsttra creates a fashoin range showcased a the Design Indaba.

Welcome to the World of the Little Traveller

"The Little Travellers HIV/AIDS project is totally inspired. I endorse it every stitch of the way. It raises consciousness in Canada and hope in Africa. In my minds eye, I can just see the women of Hillcrest (a project the Stephen Lewis Foundation strongly supports) beading, and spectacularly artful "Little Travellers" emerging. Then the sales are made in Canada, and money flows to the heroic women and children and families battling the pandemic on the ground. What could be a better act of human solidarity? Buy one, buy two, buy dozens. They speak to the best of the human spirit. "

Stephen Lewis, Board Chair, Stephen Lewis Foundation

About Woza Moya

Woza Moya is an income generation project of the Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust. It helps those in need regain Hope and Dignity by getting them to use their creativity to earn an income. At present Woza Moya acts as an agent for over 200/300 crafters. As the AIDS epidemic increases more families are turning to us for help and we assist them by offering training in different crafts. Woza Moya markets the goods made and we have a small shop on the centre premises. The Little Travellers are one of the Craft products we produce at the centre.

The project has proven that with the right care and access to medication lives can be turned around. We have found that economic empowerment is one of the most important factors in fighting this epidemic because as it gives the crafters the luxury of looking to the future. In doing so they take ownership of their disease and have something to live FOR! The health benefits of this alone can never be underestimated.

How the Little Travellers were born

The Little Travellers came into being  in 2002 when the crafters sat down and made the first prototypes. We were so excited by the outcome that we wanted to take the first ones and start selling them immediately. The crafters said that they would not part with their dolls and that we should be patient as they would make more and bring those to me and so our journey with these special dolls began...

As promised, many Little Travellers made their way to the Centre and we started selling them immediately – no one could resist their charm. We sold these little dolls at flea markets, conferences and schools. Certainly, nobody in the Hillcrest area could be seen without one! As time went by, the crafters had orders for Little Travellers from around the country and indeed, around the world. These dolls soon became what we termed “food on the table” as this was bread and butter money for our crafters.

Small Dolls - Big Impact

These dolls are symbols of hope because they have enabled beaders to put food on the table, connect running water to their homes, make electricity connections and purchase of essential items.

Each Doll Has a Story to Tell

The women who make these Little Travellers, love making these symbols of hope. Each crafter gives each doll its own character, so each Little Traveller is unique.

We have over 160 beaders who are either affected or infected by HIV/AIDS and we can tell which women made which doll. When the beaders go out or come in to the Centre, they wear their Little Travellers as symbols of pride, hope and of what is possible.  Most of the crafters are the only in a breadwinner and our last survey showed that on average each crafter is supporting between 10 – 7 dependants.

Little Travellers continue to evolve and change. The range is extensive ranging from angels with wings, dreadlocked ravers, ABBA maniacs, Gogos (grannies) to mothers with babies. In short, there is a Little Traveller to suit every whim and individual.

About The Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust

The Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust is a holistic HIV/AIDS project which was started in 1991. Since its inception, the Centre has attempted to uplift the lives of those both infected and affected by HIV/AIDS through practical and sustainable care. As new challenges and opportunities have presented themselves, the Centre has adapted its approach to addressing both the disease and the effects of it on the community.

The Centre looks at each family and individual and tries to create a package of care that suits them, with the knowledge that everyone's needs or perceived needs are different. This way the physical, emotional and spiritual needs of people are addressed. Most importantly however, our mission is to provide unconditional love to members of our community that are infected and affected by HIV/AIDS.

Find out more about The Hillcrest AIDS Centre Trust