The Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund designed the Self Help Group approach through its Sustainable Livelihoods Project with the aim of assisting families and communities to deal with the situation of vulnerability. The Self Help Group approach is meant to strengthen families economically with the aim of improving their lives and also giving them opportunities to excel in what they know best in dealing with their own situations.
It is through the Fund’s SLP’s Self Help Group approach that today women are now operating viable businesses such as bakeries and butcheries, generating income that will bring a better life in their families. Women have built their homes using their savings from the Self Help Groups’ savings mobilisation program. They have renovated some of these homes and equipped them with the necessary assets to create a better environment for their families and children.
They have educated their children and produced graduates using their Self Help Groups savings mobilisation programme. They have perfected their skills to produce good quality work in their income generating activities. The women have used their Self Help Groups meetings as psychosocial support structures to help each other in dealing with the difficulties they face in their homes.
Today these women serve their communities with pride and dignity. Their dignity has been restored!
Mapule Cheela: Manager - Sustainable Livelihood Project
Mapule has been in the field of Microfinance, assisting poor communities to change their lives with the little monies they have in their coffers, eventually assisting women to work out their way out of poverty for the last 24 years. Her vast experience in the field of Sustainable Livelihoods has made her come to a realization that; once a woman is armed with all the necessary equipment to fight poverty, the war can be won! She has seen women in difficult situations making a difference in their lives and in their families’ lives with the little resources they have and also using their natural skills to initiate income generating activities to bring the much needed income in their households.
“I have seen women thriving from these initiatives! I have seen women growing their businesses – from selling meat in a dish carried on their heads – moving from street to street and eventually becoming noticed butchers in their areas – with all the dignified structures that have the required butchery equipment! This is what drives my passion to work with women especially in poverty stricken areas – mainly in rural areas where there are little resources and poor infrastructure, but women make it in life under these conditions. They make these achievements in the name of their children! In the name of their families! In the name of their communities! “– Mapule
Mapule believes that women deserve to be treated as equal with their counterparts irrespective of colour, race or creed. They should be allowed to excel in what they know best. Their skills in dealing with situations at family and community level should be enhanced. Institutions designed to care for children and operated by women should be supported with all the necessary resources.
A lot of effort must be made in supporting organisations that are designing programmes to improve the quality of women’s lives and their families – making the necessary resources available. Women should be embraced for the good work they have done! Women have always been the pillar of their households including communities and the nation at large. Women should be treated with the dignity they deserve!
“I never dreamed about success, but I have worked for it! The above mentioned successes and achievements makes me proud of what I have done in life and this is what drives my passion in changing lives of women and children!” – Mapule
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