Employment opportunities for residents of Molamo in Polokwane are scarce. In this light the Molamo Agriculture Project seeks to tackle a two-fold problem – unemployment and food security. The project started in 2011 with six volunteers (women) and seeks to enhance the livelihoods of the volunteers and, in turn, the community. Ebrahim Tembane, the project leader, says that the project has not been without challenges. Over the past seven years they have run into problems with insects, excessively hot weather and inconsistent volunteer involvement. However, it has been a journey of growth and learning, and an achievement for the community. In 2011 the volunteers planted 85 fruit trees, including peach, naartjie, mango and orange trees. The fruits of this investment have literally been harvested since. Over the past year the team planted 34053 seedlings, which includes Chinese mustard spinach, spinach, beetroot and onions. These were sold to the community and the income generated shared between the volunteers and the running costs of the project. The project now has a borehole and water irrigation system to facilitate their work. The project has received two awards since inception. In 2012 the project received second place in the annual Women Farmers Competition Award at the Capricorn district in Limpopo, competing with over 50 other farms. In 2017 they again won second place in the competition, competing with over 100 farmers. Through the project nine women in the community gained farming skills, some of who have gone on to work on other farms; while others remain with the project. After having established the project the project leaders noticed another need in the community – children did not have a safe space to go to after school. The Paledi Drop-in centre was therefore established in 2015 alongside the farm through containers. It includes classrooms, a kitchen and office. Children from the community now come into the centre after school, are fed lunch and are assisted with their homework, academic development and personal. The centre is managed and led my Mrs Sebata, an ex-principal and educator par excellence.
With overall unemployment in South Africa estimated at 25% and 49% of South Africans living on R25 or less per day, many South Africans would be destitute without the support of social welfare from government and NGOs. Typically, the poorest households don’t have savings and are disposed to periods in which they have run out of money for food. By providing cash grants to meet their basic needs, these households are able to retain their dignity, integrate into society and desist from begging. Clients on this programme are provided with monthly cash grants on a temporary basis. In the interim they are given the opportunity to recover, find employment or join one of SANZAF’s developmental programmes. In addition, dependents are appraised and supported holistically e.g., in terms of schooling and other educational needs. If a client is unable to recover from the situation, they may be moved to a permanent support programme or referred to other stakeholders for further assistance and support. Elderly, terminally ill or frail family members who are unable to go out and seek employment head many of these households. In the current year SANZAF has 116 welfare clients that they help on a monthly basis.
We’ve all head the saying, “Give a poor man a fish and you feed him for a day. Teach him to fish and you give him an occupation that will feed him for a lifetime.” This is precisely the objective behind SANZAF’s Skills Development Programme. With overall unemployment in South Africa sitting at 25%
and 49% of South Africans living on R25 or less per day, giving people new skills is key in working towards a brighter future for the poor. The Skills Development Programme focuses largely on non-matriculants who are seeking practical skills to enhance their employability. To qualify for the programme, applicants must be eligible to receive Zakah, must demonstrate the job scope for the particular skill and be studying, or intending to study, at a recognised institution. There is no fixed duration for the programme, with funding depending largely on the skill sought and the institutional offering. Students must submit their results for every level - demonstrating satisfactory performance - before successive funding can be approved. For 2018 SANZAF has 40 students registered in their skills development programme, with these students working towards careers in ECD, welding, civil engineering, hospitality and catering, beauty therapy and auxiliary social work. Amina, a SANZAF employee, fondly remembers a past student; “She took a course in auto-engineering and started working in her yard doing car repairs. A few months later, she found employment at a large car manufacturing company. She is proof that the condition you find yourself in today, is not permanent, and that with determination you can succeed.”
With 25% of the South African population being unemployed, government holds that entrepreneurship is one of the most important activities in our developing economy. Through entrepreneurship, adventurous South Africans are able to create new value, new wealth and of course, new jobs. In addition, only a small percentage of South Africans are able to pursue Higher Education due to limited seats at universities, economic factors and not having matriculated. This is where Sanzaf’s Entrepreneurship Training Course comes in. Sanzaf offers a completely free 4-week training course in Johannesburg for those wanting to become Entrepreneurs or those wanting to acquire some of the skills required for Entrepreneurship. The objective is that students completing this course will go on to start their own businesses, or grow their current business such that they become financially independent. With small of classes of eight to 15 students, and both practical and theoretical training; our SETA-accredited course is a unique opportunity. Students cover nine modules, with those meeting the requirements achieving an NQF level one certificate. In the final module students work on their own business plans which they present to a panel of judges who give them feedback on the quality and feasibility of their business ideas. To date, SANZAF has trained over 250 students, helping them to start their own businesses, acquire start-up funding and become independent.
The returns to higher education are well known across the globe. In South Africa it is estimated that 95% of university graduates are employed, and that graduates contribute 65% of GDP. However, there are many obstacles to entering tertiary education, one of the greatest being the high costs associated with university; including academic fees, text books and living expenses. It is in this light that SANZAF supports high-achieving students in attaining tertiary education. SANZAF’s bursary programme supports undergraduate students (and postgraduate students in certain specialised fields) by paying for their academic fees, textbooks and providing a small stipend for living expenses. It is thought that easing the financial burden on these students and their families will allow them to focus on their university careers, graduate and ultimately secure employment and independence. Applicants apply online, are shortlisted, interviewed and assessed for financial eligibility. Students must re-apply every year, demonstrating satisfactory academic performance before successive years of funding can be approved. For the 2018 academic year, SANZAF has 170 students on their bursary programme, 65 of which are new.
Youth Leadership Programme
Young people in today’s schools will be the next generation of leaders and change-makers in the workplace, in our communities and in their families. Youth development programmes help students in the transition to adulthood, allows them to build character and to become responsible and socially conscious citizens. SANZAF’s Youth Development Programme inspires young leaders to take responsibility for their own development. It encourages them to develop a positive attitude, develop leadership skills and embrace a mindset of lifelong learning and excellence. Those participating in the programme see positive changes in their social, academic and personal lives. In 2018 SANZAF’s Youth Leadership Programme served the RCL (Representative Council of Learners) teams of 14 schools across Gauteng. 550 high school students undertook an eight-session course, spanning eight months. It is evident from the number of non-RCL learners wishing to join the programme, that the demand for such youth leadership programmes is vast and largely unmet. Learners are not only supported through the programme but also in the longer term. They are provided with valuable resources as well as an “open door” for guidance and support. Amirrah Mathabela, one of the programme’s alumni, went on to volunteer as a supporting facilitator after matriculating in 2006. She is currently completing her internship with the programme, which will enable her to take the role of a lead facilitator. In addition, she plans to study towards a degree in psychology next year at the University of North West. It is the successes of learners like Amirrah that motivates our work and ensures a strong and diverse base of future leaders for the community.