SAKHISIZWE Community Projects, founded by Vumani Gwala, was registered in 2010 with its vision to help those who have entered the world of whoonga.
The organisation co-ordinator Ntokozo Ngcobo said when the NGO was first established, it focused on drug awareness, but in 2008 and 2009 KwaDabeka and Clermont communities were faced with a new challenge that of whoonga.
“We came up with a project called the Whoonga Project where we took in addicts and counselled them and then sent them to the clinic for detox. We then put them on an external project where they learnt upholstery, facilitated by Sthoko Sokhulu. We taught them skills in order for them to keep busy and make a living from what they learnt. After three months we took in another group.”
In 2011, due to financial constraints the organisation had to stop.
“In 2012 we got assistance from the municipality under the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP). “The unit called us to present our Whoonga Project to management and fortunately they loved it. They then provided us with a site in Mtamntengwayo near KwaNdengezi, so that we could build a rehab centre and in 2012 and 2013 we did. Things were really looking good and we didn’t focus only on KwaDabeka and Clermont, we also had addicts come from all over KZN.”
The rehab centre took 15 addicts for two months and the municipality paid for refreshments, the venue and park homes, and the organisation had to cover the other expenses.
“We achieved a lot during those years. We were nominated at the Mayoral awards in 2012 and won the Community Development award. We won again in the same category in 2014.
“The EPWP was nominated on national level in 2014 under the Community Development category. We were motivated and wanted to help more addicts, however, in 2014 we had to shut down after municipality could no longer fund us.”
The organisation had to relocate to Pinetown where they tried to carry on with the project, but they struggled to secure premises.
“Our vision changed after the problems we encountered and in 2014 we found new premises at the Clermont Clinic and we had to decide whether we wanted to start a rehab centre or an Aids Centre as both ideas were important.
“In 2015 we opened a youth centre because we realised that Clermont and KwaDabeka did not have one.
“Our aim for the youth centre is to have a place where we can motivate those did not finish school.
“The centre offers educational programmes - basic computer skills, journalism NQF level 5 and security guard and cashier training. We also have a multimedia department, which has a recording studio.”
The facilitators and trainers are Seta-accredited.
For more information phone
031 829 9115.