Sinamandla

Sinamandla's misison is to assist, capacitate and support local organisations to promote self-reliance as a central concept within development networks and practices in local communities. Sinamandla's vision is socially and economically empowered women within households made vulnerable by poverty, the impact of HIV and AIDS, gender inequalities and other societal injustices.
Sep 21, 2011

SHG members solve the problem of safely crossing the river!

Crossing the river near the new bridge being built
Crossing the river near the new bridge being built

Sisonke Cluster Level Association (CLA) was formed in October 2010 and represents a cluster of seven Self-help Groups (SHGs), with over 100 SHG members, located near Stanger in KwaZulu-Natal. The CLA meets monthly
at a local crèche in KwaMaphumulo.  The area is rich in vegetation but some of the basic resources such as clean running water and electricity are just a dream for this community. The community members have to travel long distances to the nearest clinic.

The village is also divided by the wide uMvoti river that snakes through the village. Community members, including school children and teachers, have to cross the river on foot to the other side of the community because there is no bridge. The CLA discussed this issue, amongst others, and decided to select a sub-committee to approach the local councillor. 

The committee met with the councillor, Mr Nalane, in March 2011 and presented the groups’ frustrations about the lack of a clinic in the area and the bridge. Their request for the bridge was referred to the Provincial Minister of Transport, Mr Willis Mchunu, who met with the CLA members and agreed that they will start the process of building the bridge.  After this meeting the surveyors came to the area and the plan was passed. The work on the bridge has since started.

This really motivated the CLA since the community members had lost a lot of their belongings - groceries, cellphones, books and money were often swept away in flowing water while trying to cross the river. This had been an everyday life for years and it became a norm that during rainy seasons there was no school or access to the road or shops.  This recent outcome has also earned the women in the SHGs much respect from the local men and other community members.

The women have used their power in numbers to influence decision-makers in the area and this will benefit the whole community. They look forward to walking across their new bridge in the coming months!

Many thanks to all our donors over the last few months. There is still a long way to go to reach our target, so please would you consider making another donation in 2011 in order to help Sinamandla assist up to 2 000 vulnerable women in poor communities before the end of this year. Please do think of any family member or friend who would be interested in the work of Sinamandla through its Self-help Groups and do forward them our website link. Do be in touch if you think of ideas as to how Sinamandla can attract wider support.



 

SHG members who influenced the bridge being built
SHG members who influenced the bridge being built

Links:

May 24, 2011

SHG members begin to respond to challenges faced

Zanele Magwaza, Zamukuphila SHG displays reed mats
Zanele Magwaza, Zamukuphila SHG displays reed mats

During January-March 2011, 503 vulnerable women joined a Self-help Group (SHG) in their community in South Africa. A total of 29 new SHGs were formed. These new SHG members represent over 2,700 household members who are currently living below the poverty-line. Each woman received up to three training modules during this period and many were able to access a low-interest loan.

Sinamandla also worked with its partners on how women can respond to the impact of HIV and AIDS in their home and community; and how they can address gender-based violence that they also experience. Specific posters are being developed around these issues that are appropriate for use with the SHG members, many of whom are illiterate, yet who are determined to initiate responses to these challenges in their communities.

Zanele Magwaza, a 43 year old widow, resides in Madwaleni outside Kranskop (KZN) and is a member of Zamukuphila SHG. Life was not easy for her after losing her husband and she struggled to pay for her children’s school needs. She saves R2.00 ($0.30) a week and initially started taking loans from her group to be able to meet the school expenses as well as consumption needs at home. She then decided to collaborate with another SHG member to start an income- generating activity making reed mats and selling them in her community. She was able to access a loan of R150.00 ($22.00) from the group to buy raw material for the mats. Now she makes
an income of up to R800.00 ($115.00) a month depending on the number of monthly sales. Zanele says “The advice that I can give to other group members who want to start a small business would be to refrain from using your business income haphazardly. You need to work out the business expenses and profit so you can see the fruits of your work.”

Qalakahle SHG was formed in Maphumulo, KZN. The group recently had a discussion focused on the issue of child sexual abuse and the effects on mothers. Members shared some of their own personal experiences of abuse. Members acknowledged that most of the issues relating to child sexual abuse are not usually discussed
because the families where the children are being abused seldom share or report the cases for the fear of shame. When asked why do women keep such cases a secret it was highlighted that the biggest reason is that most of the time the perpetrator is the partner of the woman who also provides for the family financially. Therefore, economic
dependency would force the mother of the abused child to keep quiet
. Another reason is the fear for the child’s life and the family because even if the perpetrator would be arrested, it is for a very short period and the perpetrator is likely to come back and terrorise those who reported him. The group resolved that the first step would be to talk further about these issues among the group members to understand what is involved. The group will also make links with relevant institutions, such as the welfare department and nearby organisations, so they can refer some of the cases that they feel they cannot address.

Many thanks to all our donors over the last few months; we appreciate your support and helping Sinamandla to reach its initial fundraising targets on GlobalGiving. There is still a long way to go to reach our target, so please would you consider making another donation in 2011 in order to help Sinamandla assist up to 2 000 vulnerable women in poor communities before the end of this year?

Pleasee do think of any family member or friend who would be interested in the work of Sinamandla through its Self-help Groups and do forward them our website link. Do be in touch if you think of ideas as to how Sinamandla can attract wider support.

Links:

Feb 22, 2011

Poor women in South Africa start to save in SHGs and access low-interest loans for income-generation

Samukelisiwe Mkhize selling from her stall
Samukelisiwe Mkhize selling from her stall

During November - December 2010, 219 poor and vulnerable women joined a Self-help Group (SHG) in their community in South Africa. A total of  12 new SHGs were formed. These new SHG members represent over 1,100 household members who are currently living below the poverty-line. Each woman received two training modules during this period and many were able to access a low-interest loan.

Samukelisiwe Mkhize is a young woman of 22 years of age living in a village near Mbazwana in the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. She lives with her aunt and several siblings. She is a member of Siqalokuhle Self-help Group (SHG) which was formed in 2010. She says that “after joining my group, I learnt many things including the importance of self-help, managing my money and starting an activity that would generate income. When I first heard about the self-help group concept it was very difficult to believe that saving just R2.00 ($0.30) a week could bring any significant change in my life”.

Samukelisiwe decided to take a low-interest loan from her group to buy initial stock to start a small business. She borrowed R100.00 ($14.00) and made R50.00 ($7.00) profit selling snacks. Initially she started selling from her home but soon realised that she needed to be accessible and visible to more people, so in January she put a stall on the side of the road near her home where school children have become her main customers. She gradually added more items to sell based on customer demand including fruits and sweets.

Samukelisiwe’s dream is to grow her business to one day become a tuck-shop that can serve the community with their basic items. She currently makes an income of between R300-R500 ($43-70) a month. She is the youngest member of her SHG, which has 20 members. She encourages women who have started a small business “not to sell to customers on credit and be accessible to your customers”. She attributes her success to the self-help group concept that opened her eyes so she could take a step towards the improvement of her life and her household.

Many thanks to all our donors over the last few months; we appreciate your support and helping Sinamandla to reach its initial fundraising targets on GlobalGiving. Please would you consider making another once-off or even monthly donation in 2011 in order to help Sinamandla reach its goal of assisting up to 2,000 vulnerable women in poor communities before the end of this year?

Also can you think of a family member or friend who would be interested in the work of Sinamandla through its Self-help Groups who might make a donation? If so, please could I ask you to forward to them this report or our website link and tell them that you have already made a donation to Sinamandla? Please do be in touch if you think of ideas as to how Sinamandla can attract wider support.

Links:

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