I am so excited! It is wonderful to see the way in which the Self Help Groups (SHGs) are growing and being established. It is through the support of our donor but also through your support! Not all of our costs are covered by the donor, but because of your support, we are able to cover the outstanding costs.
Last year I reported how this was a pilot project, we passed the pilot phase and are now in the first year of a 5yr program. Our target this year is 25 new groups on top of the 5groups from last year. The groups are only ladies from the poorest of the poor in our communities. Predominantly they are foreign nationals who came to this country as refugees to escape the war in Mozambique from 1977 to 1992 over 40yrs ago.
They came illegally, were undocumented, and have remained so due to South Africa’s laws, we now have multiple generations of people who identify as South African, not as Mozambiqueans, who have adopted Xitsonga and Sepedi culture and who have left their own culture. They are unable to access basic human rights such as Identity Documents and therefore struggle to get equitable work, health care, and education. They are sentenced to generational poverty for themselves and their children and their children’s children.
They live under constant fear of deportation back to a land they do not know, to a culture and language they are unfamiliar with! It is very difficult to attain documentation in this country legally due to poor service delivery and corruption. As a foreigner myself it actually took a High Court case to compel the Department of Home Affairs to give me my work permit after 4years of being considered a “Legal Illegal” due to their inability to interpret the law, not just my case but a class action case of over 400 respondents.
Being a “Legal Illegal” meant I could not work (fortunately because I worked for an NGO – there was a special provision for me but not for the 400 others trapped in no man’s land for 4yrs); I could not renew my license or vehicle registration; I could not enter into any formal contract such as cell phone renewal; I was unable to travel outside of the country or risk being banned for 5yrs! It cost in effect R20,000 to be part of the class-action case.
To go through the legal process is horrendous.
So the decision was made to work with ladies, who are the poorest of the poor, to ensure their economic survival; to reduce food insecurity and malnutrition, to bring the hope of accessing the correct documentation through partnerships with other NGOs who specialize in the documentation of foreign nationals and to break the cycle of poverty they have been existing in for over 40yrs.
That is what you are supporting. You are bringing hope, not just to these ladies but to their children. Through this program, you are enabling the children to sit matriculation and go on to university which currently they cannot do because the children do not have Identity Documents which is a pre-requisite to sit the exams.
I hope you are encouraged and as passionate as I am with the work we are achieving on behalf of others. By the end of this year, 600 ladies and 600 families will be a part of the program, your support will assist over 2,500 children to realize their dreams! Eventually, later this year, the ladies will have their own small businesses and become entrepreneurs perhaps even employing others.
Thank you so much for being a part of their story, being a part of their success.
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Below are just some comments from some of the ladies together we are helping.
“We no longer sleep on empty stomach the group has assisted me a lot.”
“This group has assisted me as my kids now are able to eat bread as others.”
“This group is helpful in my life my kids are now looking the same as other kids at school, they have shoes coming from this group and they have pocket money daily.”
“I was the poorest of the poor I’m now getting full with my kids as we were sometimes sleeping on empty stomach I was even known in the village but now things have changed. Others are still wondering what is happening with my life why I am no longer go to ask for help.”
“It brought change in my life I was struggling with community funeral contributions but since I have joined the group I have never skipped even one funeral.”
“My son is on wheelchair and sometimes he was unable to go for check-ups because of financial problems but since I joined the group whenever I know that he will be going to check-up I come to the group and borrow money, so to me this group means a lot.”