Self-help Groups for 2000 poor women in S. Africa

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.



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Pietermaritzburg, KZN, South Africa

Project Leader

Philip Donnell

Pietermaritzburg, KZN South Africa

Where is this project located?

Map of Self-help Groups for 2000 poor women in S. Africa