Mar 02

Self Help Groups 2023

Self Help Groups 2023

By Louise and the KTD196 Dream Team – Director

I am so excited; yesterday I went out with a my team to see a six month old Self Help Group. There where 15ladies present. They had been going only since late 2022. As we arrived, we were welcome officially to the meeting to watch the process. The day was rainy and very misty, the group had to relocate under someone’s carport roof. But still all of the ladies came, they didn’t want to miss the day. One lady lamented about how contractors in the village were digging up the roads to lay water pipes and leaving open trenches without notification that the trenches were there. All the rain, we have had over 500mm of rain in 3days, had filled the trench and she fell in. She could not get herself out of the trench as she was knee deep, she lost her shoes and was covered in mud. It was a sight to behold. Fortunately, some other ladies walked by and assisted her. Imagine if she were a child! The group proceeded to discuss what was happening with the contractors. They were digging up every road, not leaving barricades or warnings as to the work they were doing, they were severing existing pipes, which piped water already to the homes, and they were severing underground electrical connections to the homes. So now, not only are they creating havoc and a mess but also dangerous situations with live electricity cables. Once again imagine a child being trapped in a water logged, live trench. The contractors are under no obligation to repair the broken pipes or restore electricity to the homes. After a thorough discussion of the issues, the ladies decided on a plan of action which would be 3pronged.

1. Confront the contractors directly and demand warning signs and barricades to prevent another unsuspecting mud bath

2. Go to the ward councillor and demand the councillor follow this up with the contractor’s head office and demand that they supervise the closure of the trenches properly with the contractors.

3. Go to the Induna’s who will inform the Chiefs to make the contractors accountable for the damage caused.

Once a plan of action was identified and they proceeded with their meeting. Everyone contributed R10 for the week; they also returned the interest from the money taken the previous week; then they returned the loans they had borrowed over the previous month and finally all of this money was added up and lent out again in the form of loans. After only 6short months, the group were starting their small businesses. Some were buying large bags of sweets and selling them at the local schools during the break, with mark ups. Others were buying airtime and selling the vouchers. Still another was selling eggs and had a vision to build up enough chickens so she could start to sell chickens for food. It is so exciting to see how in such a short period of time the group had saved R10,000 and were starting to look at larger income generating activities to actually sustain them and their families. This project is only open to women because sadly, in this culture, it is rare that a man who works will bring his money home to his wife and family and not just spend it on himself. At the completion of the meeting all 15ladies took off to confront the contractors, ward councillor and Induna. What a formidable force. We as KTD196 are also linking the children’s program with each group and from the groups requesting adult volunteers to support their own children with training. It’s a win-win. You support of this project is wonderful. We currently have 5new groups this year, we are actually experiencing ladies accosting our staff demanding we bring the project to their areas. It is a wonderful problem to have. In total we now have 32 groups of between 15-20ladies, all the poorest of the poor. Together we are changing lives, families and futures. Thank you so much for your support of this program.

Bless you so much for being such a blessing,