Catherine Offei Kwapong
Artisan Organization: Catherine Offei Kwapong
"My name is Catherine Offei Kwapong and I was born in Tema-Kpone in 1965.
"I mastered how to style hair, create wedding décor, floral decoration and weaving wreaths. When I attended parties, I'd see women dressed up in beautiful beaded necklaces and I wondered how to create jewelry myself.
"I was fortunate to meet a teacher who was skilled in crafting beaded jewelry. I started with the basics and my teacher realized how quickly I learned. It took me about five months to master this craft. Then I began teaching other people and this helped me improve.
"I specialize in modern African beaded jewelry, and use bamboo, dried calabash gourd, clay and other materials. I sometimes have helpers when I have to create many designs. I choose people who are loyal, hard working and committed.
"I hope to help needy and poor children. My dream is to open a vocational school to teach beadwork and crafts to street children and orphans. For a while, I lived with my sister in Tema and learned a lot from the orphans there. I was able to teach the older ones to weave. It's been a privilege to help these children. They are very innocent, and caring for them has given me joy and peace.""