March Newsletter 2015


We are into the third month of the year and are experiencing new beginnings in many forms, including our new offices and new address (see the story below). Also on this theme, we are concluding a two year contract with the Office of the KZN Premier, which means that seven of our staff members will leave us in accordance with the terms of their employment contracts. I am sad about this and would like to thank them for their commitment and dedicated hard work over the past two years. This will also be a new beginning for them as they will find jobs at other NGOs. They were fresh from University when they started at Zimele in 2013 and we have built their capacity to be excellent facilitators, good in reporting and understanding community development – we have even built their driving skills – a vital skill to be employable! It is also a new beginning for the women in the various communities where Zimele’s programme has been rolled out as they will take on the role performed in the past by Zimele personnel. They will now be responsible for maintaining their groups and receiving support from Zimele at a distance and only on request.

In the light of shrinking donor funding, we are rethinking what we do, and oh boy, we are good at building self-reliance – it is what we have taught others to do since we started in 2007! If donor money permits, we will continue with our work in four or five districts. I also want Zimele to move from being dependent on donor funding to being a social service enterprise, earning part of our income. We will have our Social Investment Certificate soon and this will give us the opportunity to fundraise directly from South African businesses.

This month we begin work on contract by FinSavy, to provide training in financial literacy to more than 300 staff of a major manufacturing company in Durban. This new avenue is yet another new beginning…it is all very exciting and challenging for us all.

Rosetta Stander

For further information visit the Zimele Website

Our new home
After many years at our Sinodale Centre address, we have had to move as the building is to be used for other purposes. We have found a wonderful new location, centrally situated in Pietermaritzburg, in a picturesque cottage-style house. Our new address is now at 18 Claybourne Road. Our telephone numbers and other details will remain unchanged.

An inspirational youth camp
Zimele Canada, Across U Hub and 25 young people from Swayimane met for a youth camp held at Hela Hela outdoor centre in early February. Across U Hub specialises in youth development in Canada and visited South Africa to help Swayimane’s youth to build their team’s capacity in youth training. Xolani Zondi from Zimele South Africa has a sound background in youth and community development so he was able to bridge the gap between rural South Africans and the Canadian team’s programme, with a well-researched camp run by Joseph Wong and his team under the guidance of Nicole Wong, the founder of Across U Hub. We were also honoured to be joined by the SOBEM international filming company from China as well as an inspiring representative from Zimele Canada, Jennifer Min. We thank all involved in this successful cultural and skills exchange. Seen here are group members joining in team-building exercises.

Khazimula CLA at work
Hut with women

Khazimula (“to shine” in Zulu) Cluster Level Association in Umsinga, Umzinyathi District, consists of 9 Self Help Groups. Zimele personnel have trained the cluster members and developed their awareness about the social and economic needs of their community. The women have engaged in different social projects as is usual in this second phase of the SHG programme. One such project involves caring for an elderly woman, Gogo Magwambu, who is disabled and lives alone. Read more…

Basic Business Skills Training

Zimele has kicked off its 2015 Basic Business Skills Training programme by training 116 women. Basic Business Skills Level 1 training is offered to group members within CLAs who have shown interest in small business enterprises and who are directly involved with the group’s business and savings. Read more here…

Busy Craft programme
Craft NY Newsletter
It has been a busy start for 2015 for our Craft programme team. Julia Buss, co-ordinator of the Zimele Craft Programme, attended the New York Now event in an icy USA, one of 13 South African businesses to attend this prestigious event. Many thanks to the Cape Craft and Design Institute and the Department of Trade and Industry who respectively arranged and funded the trip.  Julia then headed off to Cape Town for Design Indaba, another important showcase for our beneficiaries’ craft products.

Working together to help improve the lives of farmers
Agric Final
The Zimele agriculture programme and the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN) Food Security School have had a long standing relationship aimed at working together to solve problems experienced by small-scale farmers in KZN’s rural areas. Previously, research focused on market access by farmers in the Swayimane area and noted that without measures to improve soil and access to water, their agricultural production would be adversely affected. Read more here…

Imbokodo update
The Imbokodo Computer School is an initiative of the eight Swayimane Cluster Level Associations. They each have one representative sitting on the Management Committee Board. The computer school was started in September 2011, in response to the needs of the Swayimane youth, who after completing Matric, often travelled long distances to town for skills training to be employable. Through Zimele, the Imbokodo governing body has developed capacity, with the latest training being intensive and extensive.Read more…

Enterprising Mtubatuba
Mtuba 2

In this report, we reveal how Zimele’s work in the Mtubatuba area has inspired the community’s people to think smart to achieve great results! Take a look…

Get on the bus
Bus 2

We urgently need funds for a 14-seater bus, which we have been able to source at a reduced rate. This bus is vital for Zimele as we constantly travel to remote areas and we need to find a more cost-effective way to get our visiting groups (mainly from overseas and donor countries), our personnel and beneficiaries into the field, and to training sessions, trade fairs, new markets etc. What we have paid for transport until now could have been used to fund new projects! We have established a fundraising project whereby donors can “buy a ticket” to get aboard our envisioned new Quantam bus. For the ride of their lives, donors are able to “buy” a seat for R20 000 or ensure they have “standing room” by contributing lesser amounts. South African companies will benefit for BEE Social Investment scoring and tax benefits as we are registered as a Public Benefit Organisation, as well as having the BEE Certification to score CSI (Corporate Social Investment) points. For details, please contact Rosetta Stander at or call her on +27 (82) 561 4729. Read more here

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Zimele Community mentioned in the Meander Chronicle

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