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Tabloid Newspaper | 30 January 2024

Youth and women empowerment remains a necessity to society and central to government aspired socio-economic development, with an importance that cannot be cast aside in modern day societies.

The KwaZulu-Natal Department of Social Development has thus undertaken a transformative mission to uplift the lives of impoverished women and youth throughout the province.

In collaboration with the National Electronic Media Institute of South Africa (NEMISA) and Vaal University of Technology, the department has embarked on a partnership that has seen over 32 youth receive training in cellphone repairs in 2023, with NEMISA handling the training aspect, while the department contributed by offering venues and funding to the tune of R5 million.

The initiative has proven to be successful, with the National Youth Development Agency (NYDA) supplementing the efforts by providing business management training.

A total of 31 youths participated in the programme, eight of them hailing from the Umkhanyakude District. Most of the beneficiaries were recipients of the R350 Social Relief of Distress (SRD) and KZN MEC of Social Development, Nonhlanhla Khoza, said that it was pleasing to see young people dedicated to changing their lives for the better.

Speaking during the graduation ceremony at eSicabazini Youth Academy, MEC Khoza said that the youth, who came from all over the province, had ventured into repairing cellphones in their respective areas and as a significant step towards supporting these emerging entrepreneurs, MEC Khoza handed over business start-up kits, in partnership with the NYDA.

Additionally, industrial sewing machines, equipment for the hospitality industry and other start-up kits were provided to 27 women from non-profit organisations after they completed business management courses and skills development programmes with SEDA.

During the handover and graduation ceremony, MEC Khoza emphasised the department’s commitment to empowering youth and women in rural areas to overcome poverty.

“We have made a commitment that we want to see young people and women across the province playing a significant role in the economy of this country. It’s very pleasing that these beneficiaries were recipients of the R350 SRD grant and they now make over R500 a day by repairing cellphones,” she said.

Highlighting the importance of breaking the cycle of dependency on government assistance, MEC Khoza emphasised the need for individuals to be self-reliant and engage in sustainable economic activities.

“With such initiatives, the department aims to empower individuals to contribute meaningfully to both the local and national economy, fostering long-term social and economic advancement. We believe that when people start their own businesses, they will be able to fight poverty,” she said.

MEC Khoza said that it would be a joyful day to see women from rural areas able to work with local schools by sewing uniforms and getting supported by their local communities.

“We train these women because we want to see them playing a significant role in the economy of their area. There should be no need to go purchase school uniforms from conglomerates while our community possesses such skills. We want to see school governing bodies make a determination to embrace and support these women,” said MEC Khoza.

‘Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER’.


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