A beautiful handcrafted HeroRAT pendant created by local craftsman, Shadrack Mahelela, who is based near APOPO HQ in Morogoro, Tanzania. Made from sustainably sourced Ebony (black) and Minga (brown) woods, every pendant is unique, just like you! By purchasing this product you not only support APOPO and the HeroRATs to save lives, you're also supporting local artisans in Tanzania.
The craftsman responsible for these unique keyrings is Shadrack and this is his story.
APOPO’s work, unfortunately, hits very close to home for Shadrack. He revealed that one of his “close and long-time” friends died of tuberculosis several years ago—one of his friends who carved with him. At the time, they were both unaware of APOPO’s work.
Fortunately, Shadrack now knows about APOPO and their landmine and tuberculosis detection programs. Chuckling, he wonders, “Who had the idea to teach rats to find landmines?” But he is grateful nonetheless—his collaboration with them allows him to promote APOPO, while also continuing to do the work that he enjoys to support his family.
Shadrack explains that selling his figurines through APOPO will “give my family everything we need in life,” including good education for his 12 year old daughter, Lydia, who loves school and wants to be a doctor someday. Shadrack continues that ongoing support will “provide food for my family, including my son that just turned 1,” who is young, growing, and in need of good nutrition, in addition to helping his family keep their house to stay in with beds to sleep on. “Everything we need!” Shadrack says.
Shadrack ends by exclaiming jovially that he is happy and loves all people. “Everyone that visits Tanzania is most welcome to visit me,” he offers. With his amazing figurines, incredible support for APOPO, and friendly demeanour, it’s certainly a hard offer to turn down.