Jun 10
Women from Self Help Groups in Burgersdorp proudly standing together, showcasing their unity and strength in community transformation

Empowering Communities: Transformative Impact of Self Help Groups in Burgersdorp

Avuxeni, Minjani, Umfekile Minjane!

I am so excited, currently at the end of May 2024 we have 68groups; 1,205 families being supported out of poverty, out of food insecurity, fear and hopelessness and out of destitution and vulnerability. This is having a positive effect on the Lifeskills Project for the Children as they are eating better, their self-esteem is improving, they are studying more effectively, they are looking healthier, they are more active in their communities and with the work with the schools and Induna’s we are seeing a general improvement overall.

The ladies are all the poorest of the poor, they save between R5-10 a week, they then borrow the money available at 10% interest which is added to the kitty for the following week. They use the money initially to bring food security and to get out from underneath the macheroni’s or money lenders. The ladies no longer have to go begging for money for school fees, school clothes, food etc. they are the solution to their own problems.

As part of the process for SHGA, the ladies form a Cluster Level Association (CLA) of 7-8Self Help Groups. The CLA has seven functions:

  1. Strengthening current SHG’s
  2. Forming new SHG’s
  3. Meeting the communities needs either material or services
  4. Addressing social problems
  5. Participation in governance and advocacy
  6. Raising funds for the Administration needs
  7. CLA reports to the Federation (3rd level of SHG formation) and KTD196.

This executive arm takes community based issues identified by the SHG’s to the various stakeholders to ensure that the concerns are addressed. To date they have managed to have 6 Boreholes in Burgersdorp repaired which have been non-functioning for between 5 and 20yrs. There were no service delivery strikes, no burning of tires, no disruption to the communities, the ladies presented their demands to the Mopani Municipality and followed up consistently until within 3months, all the boreholes were repaired.

The ladies have joined with the local South African Police Service and initiated 3 Community Policing Forums to assist with crime prevention as well as protecting the children regarding the recent spates of abduction we experienced. Praise God, no more abductions in our area.

Ladies in Burgersdorp smiling from improved food security and enhanced community support through the Lifeskills Project.

The ladies are also joining different leadership committees within their communities such as the local School Governing Boards for the primary and high schools. Plus, they are actively taking on leadership roles in Ward Committees and Village Community Meetings. The ladies are being pro-active and bringing profound change to their villages through their advocacy roles.

It is so exciting to see these ladies, the poorest of the poor, with zero self-confidence, or self-esteem, not only change their own circumstances but those of others in their communities as well. The ladies are taking on huge challenges and are proving to be a force to be reckoned with! They are challenging the sexual and racial boundaries of the prevailing culture, they are showing the leaders of their communities not to underestimate their abilities and determination. They are no longer being dismissed as irrelevant or weak.

SHG is changing lives, families and now communities, all through your support! These ladies are becoming leaders in their communities, they are becoming entrepreneurs, they are becoming community leaders, they are making their mark utilizing the skills they have been given through the various training modules.

We have had 18ladies volunteer in the children’s program which is bringing volunteerism back to the communities, we are training more later this year. They in turn are making the children’s program more sustainable by taking ownership with the children of the project. It is so exciting!

Thank you for your vision and your determination to support the work we do! The children and ladies are just as determined to maximise this opportunity you have given them!

God Bless YOU!