Umzinyathi helps boost entrepreneurial spirit

Skills development is one of the critical pillars of creating sustainable enterprises. It ensures that aspiring entrepreneurs have the requisite skills and capacity to actively participate in the mainstream economy and be on par with their more established competitors.
Umzinyathi District municipality, alongside the SSME project, provided training and skills development to four cooperatives from Endumeni and Umvoti local municipalities. A total number of 20 women from the two various co-operatives were awarded skills and development certificates.
These are Ikusasa Lethu and Siyaqhubeka co-operative (both from Endumeni) and Siyabangena and Asimbonge co-operative( from Umvoti). The district municipality had a certificate handover ceremony on May 5, to award the women who took part in the training.
The SSME contributes in fighting poverty, unemployment and inequality.
Edward Bonga (Planning and Economic Development manager) said: “I am happy to see all of you and congratulations on making it this far. I only see elderly women here and we need to involve the youth as well. I have seen your crafts and they look like they were imported.” Mbhali Manana from the One Village One Product Project (OVOP) in the Travel and Tourism Department in Pietermaritzburg explained that the project was established in 2012 by a group of women from Nongome area in the Umvoti Local municipality. The women are producing crafts such as wire bowls and mugs, grass mats and amavovo.
“We saw this as a good thing and realised that if we have the resources why don’t we use them instead of buying from other provinces?” she said.
The ceremony was graced by local officials from the municipality as well as trainees from Durban. Siyethemba Ngwenya, who comes from the Ceeye Institute of Fashion, which is SETA accredited, congratulated all the women and thanked them for behaving during the training. He advised them to go out and teach the youth.
Bright Ntokwana, a representative from the ministerial office, cited that: “seeing elderly women work together is amazing but it saddens me that there are no young people among us. This means that you are the ones feeding them.”
Mr Ntokwana went on and explained that the budget for this project was R400 000 and R181 000 was used for training them. He thanked the municipality for putting the money to good use. Mr Ntokwane urged everyone to support local businesses so that things don’t end here for the women.
“Just because you see beadwork displayed and packaged at Woolworths (for example) at double the price doesn’t mean its any different from your work. We should instead approach retailers and sell them our locally made beadwork and working overalls”.
Mrs Buzani Zuma (74) was ecstatic as she went to collect her certificate. “Thank God for this day. I will never forget it. Thank the municipality and our trainers for this opportunity. You are never too old to teach an old dog new tricks,” she added.

Fathima Zubane

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