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Penduka started in 1992 with assisting vulnerable women in Namibia. Most of them lived in the country side, uneducated or with limited schooling, many unemployed or fully relying on unreliable partners. Realising the importance of keeping the women close to their roots and family but equipping them with knowledge and skills to be able to take care of themselves and their children, Penuduka started assisting the women in their own area by giving skill training in areas they could best identify with. After the first needle craft skills on how to make a skirt/dress/children-clothing by hand and making it more beautiful with some extra stitches and colours. This is how ' village embroidery' started.  

After Penduka got a new place on the edge of the Windhoek Township of Katutura in 1995, we started paying attention to Urban women whom were in a worse situation due to  unfulfilled  dreams of going to the big city, getting a job , earning money, sending money to the families in the North or South.

Only a few of the women were able to find a job, often underpaid as cleaning ladies. Others ended up in desperation  in unreliable relationships, making beer, selling fetcookies, or prostitution. Going back to the rural areas is not an option, we would feel like failures, the women said.
For the Penduka members in the rural  areas we prepare packets and send them materials so that they can work from home, returning their finished work back into the Penduka workshop for final assembly. Penduka trainers visit the members in the informal settlements nearby and in the rural areas.

Members are being trained in:

•    embroidery techniques

•    how to tell stories through embroidery

•    how to earn money and how to put it into savings

•    mother and child care (Penduka assisted in getting funds and helped to establish playgrounds at the individual women houses for the children in   cooperation with designers and Penduka embroidery members)

•    how to prevent themselves from contracting TB/HIV/AIDS

•    home based gardens and supplying seeds and ideas