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Disabled group aims to shore up province's economy

By unknown | May 08, 2007 | COMMENTS [ 0 ]

Boitumelo Tshehle

Boitumelo Tshehle

Fifty physically disabled people from North West feel more empowered after attending a national programme aimed at giving them business skills.

The programme, held at Mmabatho Tusk Hotel last week, is part of the Accelerated and Shared Growth Initiative for South Africa's (Asgisa) Jobs for Growth.

It was organised by the North West directorate of project management in Premier Edna Molewa's office to close the gap between stakeholders and people living with disabilities.

The two-day workshop taught the people, mostly from rural areas, how to form cooperatives and create jobs for themselves, despite their disabilities.

The acting national coordinator of Jobs for Growth, Tina Radebe, said the target of the programme was to facilitate the creation of a million jobs within five years and to ensure that most of the jobs were filled by women actively involved in productive self-help groups.

"The main method identified by the national programme to create one million jobs for poor people in rural areas and peri-urban areas within five years is through the formation of self-help groups that characterise the second economy, which will be further supported through access to micro-financing and business support," she said.

Radebe said they were also targeting the youth.

She said among the hindrances to poverty alleviation were lack of access to markets, lack of social services in remote rural areas and lack of power to influence decisions on service delivery at local, regional and national levels.

One of the attendants, Sweetdaddy Setlhare, 37, of Khuma near Klerksdorp, said he was happy about the programme.

"We are suffering, we have been undermined by many stakeholders. Most of the time we do not get any information from organisations," he said.

They wanted to be recognised because they were also capable of doing many things.

Setlhare is the deputy chairman and founder of the non-profit organisation in Khuma, known as People First.

They do sewing, welding and upholstery and the organisation has 108 members.

The manager of the directorate of project management, Meize Rahloa, said they saw a huge gap when it came to people with disabilities.

They decided to ask Jobs For Growth in the province for assistance.

"Disabled people are part of society. In most cases we are left out. We need to position ourselves and make our voices heard," Rahloa said.

He said the workshop was aiming to orchestrate a big impact within the province's economy.


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