glue card

“Above all, be the heroine of your life, not the victim.”
Nora Ephron

I love buying people presents. It is buying cards that I really dislike. It is a miserable experience. One doesn’t look at the cards and think: Goodness, what a variety! Which one should I choose? You simply stare moodily at the cards facing you and think: Oh glory, this person is going to get the same card about four or five times!
When in England, so many things entrance me. The beautiful, old architecture, the vast green parks, Westminster Abbey, the theatre….I could go on and on and on. You are going to scoff at what I am about to say but also in the various gift shops, it is the cards that take my breath away. They are beautifully made, humorous, witty and the artwork is always eye catching. Ignoring the exorbitant exchange rate, these cards are also reasonably priced.
Why are cards so lacklustre in South Africa?
king2Last Christmas, however, I went to a wonderful market at the beautiful Moederkerk in George. I was browsing through the entrancing gifts when my eye suddenly fell on a display of Christmas cards. These were different to the ones I was used to seeing in all the shops. These were hand made and totally delightful. What made these cards so different and intriguing was their almost childlike simplicity. Scraps of hessian, seeds, grass, bark, dried flowers made up the pictures. Enthralled I picked up a card, turned it over and saw on the back a slip of paper that read:
This card has been created by Rebekka. She is part of income generating initiative of OPTIONS CARE CENTRE GEORGE. SOUTH AFRICA
The aim of the Card Workshop is to help and support unemployed single mothers who face pregnancy or HIV/AIDS related crises. These cards are created using recycled, natural and other specially selected materials resulting in each card being a truly unique African product.
Indeed it was truly unique and it was made in George. In my city! I was delighted to discover that Options was within walking distance, just behind one of my favourite restaurants, Capannina.
A friendly faced greeted me. “Hi there,” I said, “I’m interested in buying some of your beautiful cards.”
“Sure,” the woman replied, “Let me call Janet.”
A woman with smiling eyes introduced herself and was delighted at my request. “Come,” said Janet, “Let me show you them being made.”
table cardsWe went into the next door room where a group of women were working at a large battered wooden table. They were drinking mugs of coffee. Laughter and chatter filled the space.
This was where the cards were being created. They saw me, smiled and continued with what they were doing. Each card was unique. Yes, they had templates to work from but the colours and materials were individually chosen. A little bit of personal magic!
red cardThis was obviously a great initiative. Women were employed and therefore being given the opportunity to earn money. But for me, a stranger looking in, it seemed that the talking and camaraderie was the most vital thing taking place in that room. Indeed, Janet later confirmed this when she said: “Options provides people with a place to come where there is no judgement whatsoever. They find others in a similar predicament to themselves: young girls pregnant with no husband, some affected with HIV/AIDS. They are able to connect. It is a place where they receive counselling, love and care. They meet others in a similar situation and that alleviates the “aloneness” that has been dogging them at every turn.”
Options shows people that they needn’t be victims of their lives. In spite of their lives appearing incredibly messed up, that is all it is – an appearance. Everyone has the choice of being a hero or an underdog. Why not choose to live your life as the hero????
I was amazed at the price of the cards that were being created. Those beautifully crafted designs were great value for money, far less than their shop counterparts! I bought twenty that day.
When they run out, I will return.


Should you also wish to purchase these beautiful cards from Options you can visit them at

122 York Street, George

or contact Janet by email at

or phone 084 268 0431