May 2014 Newsletter


The Zimele community is growing. We started out with Zimele South Africa as the implementing organisation, working in two rural communities in South Africa. At the same time, Zimele UK and Zimele USA were registered as fundraising charities to enable the office in South Africa to fulfill its role. Then, three years later, Zimele Canada came on board and now, can you believe it, we are serving 6000 women in 32 communities across KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa.

Let’s not mince our words: it is VERY hard work to find the resources we need, on a continual, sustainable basis. It’s a punishing task that demands dedication, passion and commitment from everyone involved. But I believe that it takes far, far more for people who live thousands of kilometers away across the ocean, to volunteer their time and energies so that 6000 women in a distant land can in turn provide a better life to 30 000 children and family members.

I just returned from our third year of annual fundraising gala events in New Jersey City in the USA and Toronto in Canada. Accompanying me on this trip was Xolani Zondi, manager of our Self Help Group Programme and Cebesile Mtshali, a beneficiary from the Mtubatuba area. The events were an astounding success, with David Husby and Debbie Blue from the Covenant World Relief Fund as our speakers. This year, the festivities included African dancing. Cebe spontaneously encouraging people to party and let loose in the real “Zulu Mama” tradition. The guests thoroughly enjoyed themselves and, for most of them, this is the closest they will ever come to experiencing our wonderful African traditions.  It was Cebe and Xolani who had everyone in tears when they told their stories. On our way back to South Africa, sitting at the airport killing time, Cebe mentioned that she never knew how hard people have to work so that they can have a better life.  Her hard work has paid off: she was able to raise additional funding for her group to complete the roof of a library they are building with their savings.

Rosetta Stander
Founder/Director Continue reading

April 2014 Newsletter

Report-writing forms a large part of what the Zimele team is required to do, and few of us have ever had any formal training in composing these documents that can influence so much and need to convey so much vital information to various readers. Communicating clearly to our donors and conducting admin tasks professionally are so important, and not having the necessary skills and knowledge may mislead people about our capacity as Community Development Practitioners.  Even though administration costs are seldom covered by donors, it forms a large part of our daily workload.

With this in mind, and with a focus on actively developing the individual abilities of our team, thirteen Zimele staff members recently attended a two day report-writing workshop that aimed at making our report-writing an easier and more simplified undertaking.  And what a worthwhile exercise it was! It now doesn’t seem to be a daunting task to head out and gather the relevant information for our reports now that we know what we are looking for.  I believe I speak for all in saying the course left us organised, with proper checklists and a clearer understanding of the value of writing reports correctly. It made me realise how important is our behind-the-scenes office functionality, in addition to and in support of the ‘main’ outreach work that we do. Too seldom we come together as a team to focus on building our own capacity in an organisation that so actively builds that of others.

Rosetta Stander
Founder/Director Continue reading

March 2014 Newsletter

Welcome to our March newsletter – how the year seems to be flying by! Firstly, a very sincere thank you to those people who joined the Zimele USA and Canada volunteer groups. These people are wonderfully selfless, giving up their time and putting their own lives on hold so that they can come and assist us. How great it was to get to know them better; how we appreciate their support and involvement in Zimele. One such volunteer, Anna Lee, said, “Meeting the people Zimele works with, seeing their journey and the successes, was incredible. Give hope and people will dream, empower them and they will attain it.” Such wise and inspirational words.

February was a busy month, with many amazing opportunities for our women in Swayimane, Winterton and Mtubatuba. They hosted our overseas guests and their guesthouses were filled to capacity. The Clusters were able to cater for the lunches and so earn income that they are now using for their community projects, such as the orphaned care project, the life skills programmes and the home-based care programme. There was a huge financial injection into the Self Help Groups of these three districts, thanks to the three events sponsored by the Office of the Premier. But more about this in our April newsletter!

The Zimele crafters are also very busy, producing stock in anticipation of large orders resulting from our attendance at the Design Indaba trade show in Cape Town. This event offers an excellent opportunity to show off the top quality products that our ladies make with their nimble fingers. Read more about it below.

Finally, some exciting news: the iThembanani Cluster from Swayimane is now a registered Non Profit Organisation and there is already a donor interested in funding them. Last week, these women, from this distant rural area, learned to operate email and are now officially ‘online’ as they have their own email address. This is groundbreaking progress for such a remote district and the start of a thrilling transformation process for the women and their community.

Rosetta Stander
Founder/Director Continue reading

February 2014 Newsletter

January has passed by in a blur as we busied ourselves with getting back into the swing of things after the December year end break. There is already so much happening and so much we have to work on…I am glad that the Zimele team was able to have a good long break because we are full steam ahead as our newsletter will reveal. Hoping that you enjoy catching up on our latest news!

In closing, I would like to extend a very warm and sincere South African welcome to the mission groups who will be visiting us this month. Their hands-on contributions, prayers and invaluable fundraising for Zimele make them our most special guests!

Rosetta Stander
Founder/Director Continue reading

January 2014 Newsletter

It is with excitement and anticipation that I welcome our first steps into 2014. The Zimele team is already well prepared: donor contracts are signed and others have been submitted in good faith; work plans have been set out to the date and hour; meetings are scheduled and plans of action are in place…. Yet, we are stepping into the unknown future with its highlights and challenges.

In 2014 we will continue to strengthen the Self Help Groups in all 11 Districts and encourage them to save and start businesses, and motivate them to become the agents of change in their own troubled communities. More women will receive training in Early Childhood Development, food processing, sustainable agriculture and the making of beautiful crafts. Substantial focus will be on building the capacity of the eleven governing bodies of the pre-schools, the eleven Cluster Committees, the Farmers’ Association and the different Crafters committees as they are moving into complete self-reliance from 2015.

My wish for 2014 is that we all live out our responsibilities towards ourselves and the wider community, who we serve. May we see with clarity, and may we pursue a vision that benefits all concerned. May we, with the support of our donors, hold in our hands the gift of good work.

Lastly, I want to invite every one of you to participate in the efforts to promote Family Farming. Family and small-scale farming are inextricably linked to world food security, and are linked to several areas of rural development. To find out more view this link.

May you have a bright and prosperous 2014, filled with all good blessings!

Rosetta Stander
Founder/Director Continue reading

December 2013 Newsletter

We are delighted to have received many compliments on our first newsletter that was sent out last month, and also our vibrant new website. We think these two media will become an invaluable way of communicating with our donors and other supporters of Zimele about what we do to help uplift the women and children of our beautiful country.

Christmas is the time of the year to rejoice and reflect. It is a period that fills our souls with gratitude for the many blessings in our lives. At Zimele, 2013 has been marked by a number of significant achievements. One such achievement is the successful up-scale of the Zimele Self Help Group Programme to all eleven districts of the KwaZulu-Natal province. Others include: the new Enterprise Development Programme has trained more than 800 women in Basic Business Skills, Financial Literacy and assisted them to market their produce at local trade shows. As a member of the World Fair Trade organisation, Zimele signed contracts with four World Fair Trade Buyer Companies in Europe, which has opened many opportunities for the Zimele crafters to earn an income. All of this has enabled us to expand far beyond our original vision of helping impoverished rural communities in KwaZulu-Natal alone.

As the summer holiday season is upon us, I just want to thank the Zimele staff for their passion and commitment to the Zimele Vision: to confront the root causes of poverty and remove the barriers to economic self-sufficiency for women in South Africa’s rural communities. You are an amazing team to work with! Enjoy your well deserved holiday with your families and rest well – the Zimele office will close on 13 December and open again on 8 January 2014. I also want to thank our faithful donors and followers for your donations and your valuable emotional support and prayers.

In closing, wishing you God’s wonderful gifts of faith, hope, peace, and love at Christmas time and always. God bless.

Rosetta Stander
Founder/Director Continue reading

November 2013 Newsletter

Welcome to the first newsletter from Zimele Community South Africa. We want to share the exciting things that take place every month and proudly show off the wonderful changes that are taking place throughout the areas of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, where Zimele is present. We hope you enjoy reading it.

Rosetta Stander
Founder/Director Continue reading

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