Our History

Iziko Lo Lwazi is the Xhosa phrase for ‘Centre of Learning’. We are a non profit organisation dedicated to promoting personal development and worker readiness through education, training, work experience and skills transfer.

Started in 1998 as an adult literacy programme offering free English lessons in the library at the informal settlement of Imizamo Yethu in Hout Bay, Cape Town, the main objective of the project was to improve English language skills in order for women to enhance their chances of finding employment. Jean Fairhead initiated this project when she became aware of how many people were unemployed, and how difficult finding employment was with poor English.

However, it soon became evident that education, by itself, was seen as a luxury; there was a desperate need to put food on the table. The solution: to combine learning with earning.

Paper making was the first project the organisation began. It was started from humble beginnings by Jean with an old tin tub and no real facilities or premises within the Imizamo Yethu Settlement.

Several years on, Iziko Lo Lwazi now operates out of two refurbished containers donated by the Freddy Hirsch Group and a Wendy House that houses the craft-shop, all within the grounds of Hout Bay Community Cultural Centre, where a beautiful range of fine paper and beading crafts are made and sold.

In 2003, thanks to a generous self-help grant from the US government, we were equipped with a wonderful paper pulping machine. Since then our paper craft has gone from strength to strength. We utilise only recycled paper donated mostly by FNB Hout Bay to manufacture our papers which are then coloured and textured using natural products.

Iziko Lo Lwazi  has had a positive effect on the community by providing fundamental skills to support a better life. It encourages entrepreneurship and pride in achievement and a belief in self!

We are now expert crafters of unique hand-made paper and stationery and custom-designed beadwork. Our naturally textured paper incorporates seaweed, reeds, maize, rooibos tea, and even horse dung!

What We Do

Iziko Lo Lwazi is a non profit organisation based in Hout Bay, Cape Town. We make fine stationery products from recycled paper and apply unique beaded design elements hand-crafted by local men and women. We have the added value of being able to apply your company logo with our skilful beading to match your branding requirements and produce unique promotional items and stationery.

Our paper product and beading range is what sustains our NPO. Our skilled crafters earn from each item they make and our labour portion is the largest part of each item’s price. The product range includes telephone cubes, notebooks, shopping lists, a wide range of cards, bookmarks, key rings, lanyards, jewellery and much more.


To be a respected supplier of unique, handmade paper products and branded beading for the corporate, hospitality and promotional sectors in the Western Cape. 


To assist women and men to acquire new skills, gain confidence and become financially independent through self-employment or employment in the formal sector and thereby open the door to dignity, while building strong families for the future.

How Can You Help Us

You can recommend us to friends and colleagues, buy your cards at our shop, order our products online and bring us your used Rooibos tea bags!  We make great gifts for Christmas, teachers, conference delegates and international visitors. And, we just love a challenge!


By working with the Cape Craft and Design Institute and independent educational providers, Iziko Lo Lwazi offers an educational programme that promotes English Literacy, hands on entrepreneurial experience, personal enrichment courses and life skills, along with the knowledge required to be a successful Provider.

Special Requests / Custom Designs

Please remember that our skilled crafters are able to make a wide range of booklets, note books, cards, gift tags, and albums either as a volume order or as a once-off item. No job is too big or too small!

Our Sponsors