March Newsletter 2016

On 8 March the world celebrated International Day for Women. As a single mother, who raised my children alone and who knows the challenges of being a mother, breadwinner, “father”, taxi driver, sports coach, peace-maker, etc, etc, etc, this day has special meaning for me. It is this personal experience that feeds my passion to help women in rural South Africa to earn an income

On 8 March the world celebrated International Day for Women. As a single mother, who raised my children alone and who knows the challenges of being a mother, breadwinner, “father”, taxi driver, sports coach, peace-maker, etc, etc, etc, this day has special meaning for me. It is this personal experience that feeds my passion to help women in rural South Africa to earn an income where they live in the tribal areas and build their capacity to change the social ills of their communities.

Two days ago, during a fundraising meeting with the Corporate Social Investment manager at one of the leading companies in KwaZulu-Natal, I eagerly and passionately told him about the Zimele Community women’s empowerment programme and the great success thereof. I told him about all the pre-schools the women had opened, and how the women have received the best training in Early Child Development through the programme. I told him about the libraries the women have opened and the computer school that has led to many of their children finding employment in the city. I told him about the crafters who are in full production because of the high demand for their products and the farmers who have expanded their farming from a small vegetable garden to a large garden where they can produce enough for home consumption and also to sell. I explained that they have diversified their business by adding layer chickens to their produce selection. At this point I was rudely interrupted by the CSI manager, who asked me why we focus on women and why do we undertake community development at all. He continued, describing the importance of the patriarchal system in the tribal land areas and said that he didn’t think the women need any additional empowerment as the men will provide.

I don’t believe it is worth arguing with a man, or any person, with this point of view. It is better to show him the evidence – show him the difference in a community once the women are empowered and have the means and the knowledge to be better mothers and wives. Show him women who understand the value of a healthy meal because of the training in nutrition they received; women who understand the importance of playing with and listening to their children because of the Children’s Rights and Needs training they attended. Women who produce crafts that are exported so now they can pay for a better education for their children. Women who understand that they are not in competition with their husbands but that they are a team who respect and love each other.

Throughout history, women have made extraordinary contributions to their societies. Some are well-known, some less so, but all have been trail blazers. To continue our life-changing work with 2000 women here at Zimele Community we need your support. You can make a donation by visiting our website and giving a contribution via PayPal. Thank you for all the years that you have walked with us. It is because of you that we have been able to change the lives of thousands of women and their children.

Have a blessed month.

Rosetta Stander
For further information visit the Zimele Website

Craft Level Three training has begun!

Newsletter craft

The Zimele Community crafters were introduced to Level Three craft training through various fun activities. The women had to bring along a product which they had designed and made themselves (pictured here). This was to prepare them for Level Three training, which is a mentorship programme in which craft-makers take the next step from making products that someone else has designed to designing their own products and establishing their own production group. During the introduction the women were asked to make different collages including showing what they were wearing that day (depicting themselves), to a collage of what they liked most and finally a collage of four products they would like to design and make including the materials needed. Read more about this fun and exciting introduction to Level Three training here.

A happy highlight – work opportunity through SHG
SHG newsletter

Bongeka Khumalo of Sphembokuhle Self-Help Group, launched in 2013 in Ntabamhlophe, Winterton was just an ordinary girl like many South African youths who finish matric and stay at home. There was no hope of employment for her. When Zimele Community introduced the Self-Help Group concept to her mother, the motivated young woman was brave enough to join the “mamas” to start a savings group. In October 2014 Bongeka was enrolled by her mom to study a computer course in Swayimane at the Imbokodo Computer School, which was started by the Zimele women in Swayimane through the Zimele Community programme. She studied hard and Bongeka received her certificate, and as she now has skills, she has managed to secure a job at a reputable company. Bongeka recently invited Precious Matongo, the Zimele Community field trainer, to her house to show her what she has bought her mother with her hard earned salary as a thank you. Read more here about this amazing story…

“Learn to Earn” bakers training
With flour

The first group of aspirant bakers from the KwaXimba district attended the Learn to Earn – Bake for Profit training through the Ethembeni HIV/AIDS organisation. This initiative came about through the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Economic Development in an effort to train rural women to develop practical skills and obtain the resources needed to become sustainable income generators. Zimele Community sourced this hands-on training that follows the same principles of Zimele Community, namely giving people a hand up rather than a hand out for capacity building. Read more…

Follow up on 2015 poultry training

ChicksLast year some of our farmers received in-house poultry training by the Zimele Community Agriculture team as well as a week-long practical course at KZNPI (the KwaZulu-Natal Poultry Institute). At the course the farmers learnt about producing chickens for potential business opportunities. After receiving the training the farmers bought broiler and layer chickens to start up their fledgling enterprises. Bheki Makhathini, the Zimele Community Agriculture facilitator, recently visited the communities to do a follow up on their progress. Take a look…

The launch of our very own electronic data capture system

Satellite searching

Zimele Community staff were introduced to and trained on the new data capture system. The program is user-friendly and is operated on tablet devices. The tablets have been set up with the capture program and staff can input information easily and update the information continuously. GPS logging means that it will be easier for staff to map beneficiaries’ movements and attendance at training sessions. This exciting new data capture system will make the collection of statistics and impact monitoring far more effective and time-efficient for Zimele Community staff. The Zimele Community team seen here learning about the new system.

SARCDA Trade Show


We are off to represent our multi-talented crafters at the annual SARCDA event in Johannesburg. The SARCDA show has been running for about 15 years and is one of South Africa’s most prominent shows for design and gifts. Most significant for Zimele crafters is that it is a retail show, so that only retailers are allowed to buy at the show through the placement of orders. This enables us to make contact with potentially long term buyers rather than making short term sales to the public. The show is open to buyers from Thursday 10 March to Sunday 13 March at Gallagher Estate in Midrand, Johannesburg. We look forward to seeing our existing and new customers at the show.

Breaking News

Zimele Community mentioned in the Meander Chronicle

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