South Africa is constantly making efforts to push back and reduce the effects of poverty and unemployment. That they are still such critical concerns highlights the need for change and the need for South Africans to take action to help the growth and development of underprivileged residents.
With this in mind Siyabonga Africa, a non-profit organisation in Brakpan, Gauteng, has been working to lessen the effects of poverty on the underprivileged and arm them with the skills and resources they need to improve their standing.
The organisation began in the 1980s with a feeding scheme established by Ronald and Yvonne Dell on the East Rand, with the help of community leaders in the area. It included the distribution of donated clothing and help in restoring families that had been torn apart by poverty.
Their efforts continued to gather momentum and in 2004 the Siyabonga Africa development centre was established in hopes of addressing the shortage of skills and jobs in the surrounding community.
“We look for people who put their hands up instead of their hands out, and we aim to nurture an entrepreneur’s spirit that does have an impact for years to come,” says Nathan Dell, the chairman of Siyabonga Africa.
For more than a decade the organisation has focused the bulk of its efforts on entrepreneurship programmes through which it works to impart knowledge that is key to starting and running sustainable businesses.
The organisation’s two biggest entrepreneurial programmes are bakeries and poultry farming. They look to combat unemployment while helping to improve food security. The bakery programme has led to the establishment of more than 300 bakeries across the country and almost 2 000 jobs.
“Our poultry farming programme is a very exciting one because it’s one of the small to medium enterprises with the highest growth potential in South Africa,” says Dell. “We offer a business management course that is an introduction to business fundamentals which are specific to poultry farming.”
Siyabonga Africa also has the largest food bank and distribution centre in the province, he says, which feeds thousands of people each month. In addition, the organisation has a temporary housing project aimed at helping individuals and families in a transition phase or in between places.
“We also have an advice desk where we help people get all their legal documents in order and help them get into the mainstream economy.”
The group gives unskilled people a launch pad or platform from which they can build themselves up and go on to become self-sufficient members of society. In turn, these people are then in a position to go on and help others who are in similar situations fulfil their potential.
PLAY YOUR PART
Are you playing your part to help improve the lives of the people around you or the environment? Do you know of anyone who has gone out of their way to help improve South Africa and its people?
If so, submit your story or video to our website and let us know what you are doing to improve the country for all.