Zanele and Philile stay in the informal settlement at Section 19 in Vuvulane. Philile carries a 6 month old. Zanele is heavily pregnant.
Several ladies in Section 19 have been cracking the marula nuts and saving them in old containers: 2 litre coke bottles and other small miscellaneous bottles and jars. Zanele and Philile were given the task of bringing all the cracked nuts to the oil press that was installed in the “town” of Vuvulane (about 5km from Section 19). After some brief instruction, both working together, were able to press all the nuts and gather almost a litre and half of oil. The pressed nuts were run several times through the press to get as much oil as possible from them.
The oil is a welcome replacement for the cooking oil currently bought from the grocery store: at a premium price and distant. Many times, it cannot even be bought because of the high price and lack of money. The pressed nuts were also saved to bring back to the homestead and add to the food prepared at their daily. All told, the pressed oil and nuts will help these women save precious money, while adding important nutrients to their and their family’s diet.
All the cracked shells were collected as well. These will be sold for mulch in flowerbeds and landscaping back in Mbabane.
Your contributions to this project help make it possible for families to have additional income that is spent on much needed food, nutrition, healthcare, and other essentials!
Jane lives in Section 19 taking care of her disabled daughter, nicknamed "Sister". Jane is able to raise a small amount of cotton each year that she sells to the coop. She is able to raise and sell a small amount of vegetables to resell. Industrious, she sells airtime to others in and around Section 19.
Jane actively participates in a sewing program Kudvumisa started in '19. Training and hand cranked machines were supplied to a small group of women here. Kudvumisa's commitment to the ladies was to help develop a market for the items they produced. There is no local market to sell in. Combining the distance to the market in Manzini and the cost to get there with the competition from all the other vendors would mean they would never be able to sell any items there and make a profit.
Jane sews handbags and purses. These handbags and purses are then sold to visiting teams and tourists from the U.S., U.K., Australia and Europe in general. Of course, selling to these markets also requires that Jane be mentored and trained in the best practices and techniques. Georgina, a volunteer from Australia has joined Kudvumisa and spends 3 days a week training the ladies. The goal is to bring the ladies to the point where they can comfortably and competently sew high quality products and also manage themselves and hopefully a fledging sewing business!
Last year, Jane was able to earn an extra 1000 Emalangeni from the sewing. This went a long way to helping her take care of her daughter, investing in other enterprises and basic necessities. Our goal is to be able to double that this year. This is a reachable goal!
Khanysile has lived in Section 19 for almost a decade, raising her youngest children here. The opportunity to make a living here is limited to selling small amounts of sugar or rice to the seasonal cane workers or the occasional field work that might be available. Some women here have set up shebeens (bars) and resort to prostitution just to survive.
Marula season starts in December and lasts thru January. The marula fruit is usually gathered and fermented for a fairly potent brew. The nut inside the fruit is discarded to growing mounds each season. Inside these nuts are two kernels (the kernels have very high oil content). Historically the nuts would have been cracked and the kernels eaten or used to cook with. Modernity has mostly left that practice behind. Now, women from these areas buy imported cooking oil from the local shops.
With a press installed close to Section 19, Khanysile can crack the nuts and bring the kernels to press them for cooking oil. This will save her up to E35 ($3.50USD) a month. While this may not sound like much, this could be as much as 10% of her entire monthly income. Khanysile can also sell any excess oil she has then to supplement her income even more!
All of the women who attended the community meeting in 19 are excited about the possibilities and are looking forward to using the press. With a fresh harvest of marula fruit just days away, this presents a tremendous opportunity to save money, improve nutrition and supplement income in an area where there is no real economy to participate in.
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