Tourism project for the disabled launched

Alfred Moselakgomo

Alfred Moselakgomo

The Mpumalanga Tourism and Parks Agency (MTPA) has launched Eyethu Tourism Project, a poverty relief project .

The launch took place at the Matsamo Cultural Village in the Nkomazi area.

The agency said the launch was a celebration of a the successful delivery of the project as part of the poverty relief programme managed by the National Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (Deat).

"In 2004 the department of Economic Development and Planning secured funding from Deat for the Eyethu Project on behalf of the Sizimisele People with Disability," said agency spokesman Kholofelo Khwinana

The funding enabled Sizimisele to form a partnership with Matsamo Cultural Village in building eight chalets at the cultural village.

Sizimisele is based in Nkomazi, near the Matsamo border gate.

Khwinana said the main aim of the project was to create job opportunities for disabled individuals.

She said with the assistance of the government, additional accommodation was built by members of the community, local SMMEs and a number of disabled people.

This project was completed last year.

"We are honoured to be involved in this initiative," said MTPA board member Sabelo Mahlalela.

"Projects such as Eyethu are part of our empowerment and tourism transformation programmes, and their delivery forms part of the mandate that is given to the tourism and parks agency,"

"This development will plough back to the community of Matsamo and put the cultural village on the map," he said.

"In our books, Sizimisele people are people with abilities, because all the owners of the Eyethu Project are abled people - their abilities have been demonstrated.

"They own a tourism accommodation facility. Six of their members are permanent employees running the business, and many more will be employed in the future.

" We would like to congratulate them for such a wonderful project," said Mahlalela.

He said the launch confirmed that Mpumalanga boasted some of the best and most unique cultural offerings in the world.