Clermont women empowered

2017-01-24 06:01
Clermont Women’s Organisation members Zandile Gabela and Hlaleleni Sikakane with the bedding they made. Photo: Nosipho Mkhize

Clermont Women’s Organisation members Zandile Gabela and Hlaleleni Sikakane with the bedding they made. Photo: Nosipho Mkhize

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CLERMONT Women’s Organisation is a NPO established in 1991.
Spokesperson Mabusi Sikhakhane said: “The organisation was launched when former President Nelson Mandela was released from prison. It was formed by a group of concerned women as at that time education was an issue because we had the Bantu education system and the Clermont community was separated in two where we had one community living in government houses while others owned land and built their houses within the townships. “The members of the organisation wanted to fight those kind of issues and wanted the Clermont community to be united.

“We were told we needed to form an organisation in order to be known when fighting these issues with various departments and that’s when the Clermont Women’s Organisation was born.
“During those years we fought various issues. There was a dump site in Clermont were people dumped their rubbish and Clermont people would go there and dig for food so we confronted that issue with relevant departments in order for it to be closed.”

The organisation also decided to empower Clermont women with skills.
“We started to conduct campaigns and workshops where we invited various departments to talk to women and the youth about like rape, drugs and abuse.
“At that time we received funding from an international company named Christian Aid as well as the Department of Social Welfare. Unfortunately, the company stopped giving us funds after South Africa became a democratic country.”

After 1994 the organisation taught women beadwork, glass painting and fabric painting.
“At that time we were assisted by the Durban Art Gallery. Things were tough when the international donor pulled out.

“After 2000, the Department of Social Welfare suggested that we start a co-operative with 22 members because they wanted us to start up something that brings in money. We tried to get members, but failed. Then the department reduced the numbers to 11 members, however, we all had different ideas and could not agree on one thing.”

The women finally agreed to start a sewing project because they had sewing machines that were donated by the municipality’s Grant-in-Aid and the Department of Social Welfare.
“From there we never looked back. We specialise in making bedding and get many customers who come from Frame in New Germany. At the moment we have five active members, but the good news is our old members are starting to return.”

For more information on Clermont Women’s Organisation phone 073 489 2128.

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