Women share the touch of gold

2016-03-17 06:00
 Commitee members  Busisiwe Mahlasela Thobeka Nkohla, Nonzolo Lumba , Nomvuyo Mdlele, Nosphiwo Lali, and Primrose Kuse

Commitee members Busisiwe Mahlasela Thobeka Nkohla, Nonzolo Lumba , Nomvuyo Mdlele, Nosphiwo Lali, and Primrose Kuse

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Phillipi Women in Business Association was initiated last year by a group of women with the aim of empowering and developing their businesses.

Most operate from their homes without any financial assistance though they have been involved in business for ages.

At their launch they voiced their frustrations and challenges.

One frustration was that their businesses don’t grow to the level they would want to see due to lack of space.

Nonceba Yeko and Samthanda Nqanda run a catering business in Lower Crossroads.

They were very happy with the initiative because it would expose them to different sectors and believed that it would help in their quest for businesses space.

They duo eke out a living baking muffins, wedding cakes and biscuits. They are not without challenges.

Nqanda said: “Some people in our area criticise our muffins, while others gave us much needed support.”

“By initiating this we want to have more business opportunities and training. Women must believe in themselves and by doing so become stronger and own proper businesses. Women do not work as a collective, and we want that to end. Our ultimate goal is opening a fully-fledged bakery in our community.”

This initiative would help us to grow and get more training and end up having a bakery in my community.”

Some of the women mentioned that many challenges they’re facing that make their businesses not to grow.

Yeko said: “We were both unemployed and we started baking in-house because we didn’t want to just sit there and do nothing. We didn’t want to depend on our husbands.”

Some expressed concern that most people buy things from other businesses rather than from them.

They also stated that most parents in their communities would go and buy school uniforms for their kids elsewhere though they know that some women are making them.

They all felt it’s merely undermining and suppressing their business and it should come to an end, communities must start supporting each other.

Nosiphiwo Lali, secretary, said she saw a need to start the organisation because women are still not recognized in the society though women are the ones who are the pillars and the initiators of the projects in the society.

She then said they first sold the idea of the collective to other woemn in the area.

“Some women understood and were happy with it.

Women don’t get the same recognition as men and struggled to get the neccessary support from stakeholders.

She mentioned that they were not exposed to some of the programmes that the Department of Small Business Development was involved in.

“Minister Lindiwe Zulu never came to our area so we want at some stage to invite her to come and talk to us,” Lali added.

Busisiwe Mahlasela said: “There’s a saying that you teach a woman you teach the nation. It was a struggle to initiate the organisation. We want to develop women’s potential.

The women also spoke at length about social problems, including crime, poverty and unemployment.

Nonzolo Lumba who trains people in her community said crime and overcrowding are the big challenges in their communities.

“This organization will help us with workshops and get some different ideas. I think different stakeholders would have been invited for us to get ideas from them.I started a clothing shop in a container and I had young boys. I taught them how to draw a pattern so that they can be on their own. The community supported us a lot,’ she says.

She said she’s from a family who strongly believed in business and creating jobs for others.

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