Empowering unemployed women and the community

Namhla Tshisela

Namhla Tshisela

Twenty unemployed women from Soweto are delighted that they have been given a chance to improve their own lives and those of their communities.

South African Breweries (SAB) and the African Self-Help Association Training and Development Trust (Asha) this week gave reams of material and two industrial sewing machines to the Sinethemba Community Centre in Senaoane.

The centre is one of three run by Asha. The others are the Elizabeth Resource Centre in Klipspruit, Soweto, and the Jim Joel Resource and Training Centre in Randfontein, west of Johannesburg.

Sinethemba is isiZulu for "we are hopeful". The people in the centre's sewing project sew curtains, clothes and bed linen, and make dolls to sustain unemployed families in the community.

Asha spokesman Jennifer Mochongoane said: "The women were very excited because now they don't have to sew with their hands."

In October SAB gave two sewing machines to the Brandvlei Thusanang Women's Project on the West Rand.

SAB spokesman Angela Kgasago said that the company was committed to helping job-creation projects and empowering communities.

The manager of SAB Egoli region's Soweto district, Kameshan Moodley, said: "SAB strives to give many previously disadvantaged people the key to a bright and fruitful future."

Asha was established in 1941 in Soweto. It provides early-childhood development training to preschool teachers. There are 39 preschool centres in Soweto and one preschool in Wattville, Ekurhuleni, affiliated to Asha.

Mochongoane said: "Asha's training programmes are holistic. It is important that children develop their fullest potential before they start school."

The organisation runs outreach programmes, trains people in entrepreneurial skills and project management in areas in Gauteng where Asha does not have permanent centres.

Mochongoane said: "We reach about 500 people in Gauteng and through the training we provide they are given access to the labour pool.

"We monitor the delegates who have undergone training to ensure that they maintain high standards."