Women who change lives
IT WAS divine intervention that brought two women together to discuss common interests. The talk led to a partnership that was the catalyst to helping other people.
A year later there were four other partners and a happy community with changed lives.
Refilwe Ramela and Dimakatso Moshatane are the women who founded Kamohelo Yaba-Sadi, a community project that is improving the lives of people in Soweto.
It began with the simplest of ideas, but the ideas impressed Kgomotso Nkabinde, Thato Ramela, Sibongile Mashiteng and Lerato Khumalo, who all joined the project.
As women who have spent most of their lives in Soweto, the project was shaped by their experiences.
Their endeavour focuses on mobilising the youth to help themselves and otherpeople. They do this without receiving any financial aid.
"We feel that as citizens of the world and of this beautiful country, we have an obligation to help people in need," Ramela says.
"We cannot live peacefully and prosper while other citizens are struggling."
She says many young people in the country have no sense of purpose.
"They walk the streets without any vision of where they are heading. This is why we decided to mobilise young people to help themselves and their communities.
"We try to develop a culture and sense of community," Ramela says.
She adds that one of their biggest initiatives, which they are proud of, was to successfully organise the Mapetla Marketing Festival, to which they invited local unemployed women to sell their products.
"It was a big success and a milestone for the group. For no fee, people could sell Tupperware, clothes, beadwork, food and other things in an organised setting. The event also gave us an opportunity to teach women entrepreneurial skills," Ramela says.
Every month the women meet at the Penyo Primary School in Mapetla, where they invite a speaker to talk about a topical issue and to plan events that will empower the community.
"There is a lot of enthusiasm among women. Many of them had no hope before joining this group. These gatherings help women to uplift each other," Ramela says.
The project also has a youth programme in which they mobilise young people to help clean the homes of elderly people in the area.
Ramela says they are grateful for any help they can get.
"Local businesses give generously. Pick n Pay in Moletsane was touched by what we planned to do for the elderly, so the manager gave us cleaning detergents," Ramela says.
She says they have also helped transport youths to a Careers Day at the Coca- Cola Dome in Johannesburg.
"We wrote to the STS Taxi Association and they helped us transport our youths free of charge," she says.
Ramela says they are planning a career-guidance day in Soweto next month.
"We have invited professionals in various fields to assist our youth and explain different career options.
"We have also invited companies to tell the youth what qualities they will look for when employing people," she says.
Ramela says their dream is to see people helping each other unconditionally, without expecting any reward.