Grassroots Organisations

(A) Ingwavuma Women’s Centre (IWC)

IWC is a woman’s cultural and micro enterprise training and marketing centre that was initiated to serve the needs of the local women in this district.

The AIM of IWC is to reduce the impact of poverty by creating income earning opportunities and empowering them through capacity building, training, support, mentoring, co-operatives support, marketing and co-ordinating their collective activities.

IWC also has social programs such as home base care for the sick/ dying and support for the elderly.

Project 1 – IWC: The Business Support Centre
The AIM of the Business Support Centre is to provide relevant business skills training, support, mentoring and a facility for business operations to existing micro enterprises and to encourage / equip unemployed youth to become entrepreneurs.

Currently the government is focusing on establishing cooperatives (co-ops). To establish a co-op, each member must attend 160-hours of training. After the 160-hours of training, it is expected that members should be able to develop a business plan and become successfully operational after finances are received. This leaves more room for failure than success since many have not been exposed business operations. While some do come up with innovative business ideas, the lack of sufficient training and mentoring can easily result in failure.

(B) Zisize (Ingwavuma) Educational Trust

ALL children deserve the right to an education which will enable them to reach their potential and to contribute to their family and their community’s advancement in the 21st Century. This is Zisize’s AIM for the children of Ingwavuma.

Project 2 – Zisize: Accelerated / Compensatory Learning
This addresses the significant number of learners who start school late (it is not uncommon to find a 16-year old in primary school), pregnant / teenage mothers and youth who dropped out of school without matriculating. It ensures that this group either catch up or continue with their education.

The AIM is to provide intensive teaching (utilising electronic teaching programmes) over a shorter period for the above group who are disadvantaged by both circumstances and the educational system.

Project 3 – Zisize: Educational Services
The AIM is to address issues that prevent learners from making optimal use of their educational opportunity and equip educators to be more effective in their teaching methods. This is achieved by:

  • A qualified Education Development Officer providing training / workshops to educators on modern teaching methods and the provision of modern teaching resources to schools.
  • Library service (this is the only library in the area and it is under resourced), study groups, computer literary classes (still to be implemented), career counselling.
  • Career pathing / guidance – learners aren’t career savvy due to the lack of exposure to a wide range of careers. Most select either medical, police and education fields as career goals. Careers in business, IT, science and finance are encouraged.
  • A Psychologist who provides psycho-social support for the most vulnerable children, particularly those who have lost their parents to the HIV/AIDS epidemic.
  • Weekend and holiday feeding schemes for the most vulnerable children at Okhayeni, Mpontshini, Entabayengwe, Mgedula, Manyiseni and Ekuhlehleni Primary Schools, Isibhamu High School, Manyiseni & Kwaqatha Centre.
  • Fruit and vegetable gardens, fencing and the installation of a supply of water and/or rain water tanks at the sites of the feeding schemes.

Project 4 – Zisize: Children’s radio documentary and advocacy
Zisize and the Children’s Institute at the University of Cape Town, in collaboration with a local primary school, conducted a pilot project in 2005 to facilitate the involvement of children in depicting their lives for a broader audience – primarily through the medium of radio. The project was designed to contribute to improving public awareness about the experiences of children growing up in the context of the HIV epidemic in South Africa.

The project led to the children’s development of a series of handwritten and illustrated books about their own lives, and the production of Zulu and English radio programmes that provide poignant, sensitive tellings by the children of the complexity of their experiences (see from the end of February 2006). The radio programmes include a strong focus on the children’s experiences in relation to the illness and death of people around them. We believe that they are a positive contribution to addressing the widely prevalent stereotyped and simplistic notions of the impact of AIDS on children, and will be useful in a variety of contexts. The programmes have been broadcast on national Zulu and English radio stations, as well as on the local community radio station. Programmes are currently being packaged for a range of other community radio stations that have requested them for use around the country.

Project 5 – Zisize: Ekukhanyeni Children’s Home
Ekukhanyeni is an informal children’s home built adjacent to Mpontshini Primary School. The current concrete block building replaced a stick and stone hut on the school site, which was used from 2000 to 2002, to accommodate 4 boys who had run away from abusive situations and had been discovered living in the bush. In late 2002 the first phase of Ekukhanyeni (three bedrooms) was completed and a carer / house mother appointed. The second phase of two additional bedrooms was completed a year later. The numbers rose to 13 in 2004 with the advent of orphaned children who had no surviving relative able to offer them care. Numbers continued to swell and in the absence of an official place of safety in Ingwavuma, children in crisis situations have also been brought to Ekukhanyeni by social workers. In February 2006, the living room was completed and the central area roofed, but there is no electricity and there has been no piped water since October 2004.

The facilities are very basic and need improvement to meet the Department of Welfare Cluster Home Standard. There are currently 25 children aged from six to twenty and one carer/house mother living at Ekukhanyeni. In addition, there is a rudimentary outdoor building which houses a toilet and shower block (lack of piped water makes these currently unusable) and a kitchen and dining area. ZET has been given additional land by the tribal authority to build a second home. The maximum number of children who can be offered satisfactory levels of care in such an environment is 12 and ideally should be as low as 8.

(C) Sisizakele Special School

Project 6 – Sisizakele: Children with disabilities
Within the Umkhanyakude district, there are 5 state hospitals. It was in the therapy departments of these hospitals that the need for a school for children with disabilities became apparent. Research was done to determine how many children would benefit from a school of this nature. In 2002, the result of a survey done by the “Disability Action Research Team” May 2001 and March 2002; showed that at least 346 known children between the ages of 6 and 10 were out of school due to their disabilities.

The school started with a Grade R programme in 2002 and now has up to Grade 4. It follows RNCS programme and complimented with the classic curriculum designed for the learners with cognitive disability. It also uses the system of AAC. This is used for learners who do not have any functional speech. It is a system that helps in communication with these learners.

(D) Unmndeni

Project 7 – Unmndeni: OVC Residential Care
There is a need for official places of safety where trained carers / house mothers can care for 4-6 children. We envision a cluster of safe-houses where highly trained and motivated full-time house mothers / carers will take in children for long or short term periods. These ‘families’ will get a high level of support with their schooling, food needs, parental guidance etc, all of which they lack at their homesteads. This will be overseen the project manager.

(E) Food 4 Africa

Project 8 – Food 4 Africa: Ingwavuma Direct Assistance
This is a highly personalised one-on-one project for families affected / infected by HIV/AIDS. It will identify 20 families (particularly child-headed households) in the most remote part of Ingwavuma to provide holistic care with the aim of each family becoming self-sustaining. A coordinator will seek private sponsorship for the 20 families. Detailed monthly updates will be provided to the private sponsors. The coordinator will also facilitate a relationship between the family and private sponsor.

The concept for this project is – Identification, Investigation, Implementation and Independence.

This project’s major requirement is a minimum set up / capital costs. On-going costs will be covered via private sponsors. This level of care proved to be successful during its implementation with another organisation operating in the district. However, it was later abandoned due to the workload it attracts and the limited staff / capacity it required coupled with the fact that it wasn’t the organisation’s core business. Food 4 Africa plans to implement it.

(F) Fancy Stitch Group (FSG)

Project 9
The FSG is a self-help, income generating and skills development initiative for women living in the most rural parts of the district. It has provided embroidery training to over 600 women in the last four years and currently has 350 active suppliers.

The FSG offers stitch and design training at no fee to prospective suppliers. After the initial training, some women find that embroidery is not their gifting and decide not to become suppliers. Continuous design training is provided to the suppliers. Specific training to comply with order specifications is also given. Materials are provided to each supplier. In-take days are held where the suppliers bring their designs to be purchased by FSG. The production, branding & packaging (PBP) team at the office then converts the suppliers designs into greeting cards, miniature & large framed tapestries, photo frames, key rings, Christmas decorations, wall hangings and other unique items. FSG is responsible for marketing and selling the products.