SOCIAL INVESTMENT CONSULTANTS
In september 2014 ROOT Social Investment Consultants entered into a partnership with Waterberg Toyota Bela-Bela to identify and manage a community upliftment project in the hammanskraal area.
The Tirhani Vasati project in Suurman, Hammanskraal was identified. Our liaison was Sheila Mawela, a community worker who was at that moment coordinating the gathering of the women and trying to “make something happen” for a few unemployed ladies coming together at the property consisting of a piece of barren land and run-down building.
Tirhani vasati is a women empowerment project in Suurman, Hammanskraal. Women from the community who are struggling to find jobs, come together 4 times a week to do sewing, and also teach younger women these skills. They have in this way created a self-employment way. Their long term plan is to establish a creative workshop and fruitful agricultural land from which products and produce will be either used for a feeding scheme (vegetables from the land) for the needy or sold to the public for income (vegetables and handmade sewing products). Also included in the long term plan was an after school care facility for children of the community where skills will get transferred from the elderly to the youth.
The project operates on a large piece of land in a building of a former butchery. This property holds promising potential in terms of space, current structures and location as it is located on the Molefe Makinta highway (Hammanskraal’s busiest through road).
In october 2014, a group of volunteers from Toyota Bela-Bela, members of the Suurman community and the Tirhani Vasati women gathered to paint the exterior walls, window frames, gutters etc. This was to upgrade the look and feel of the project and give the women something to be proud of and work on.
After the painting of the building, the ladies continued to come together to sew and do beading work. In february 2015 the brand new fence was erected and the land was now secured. The women have now also started planting seedlings and are taking care of them daily. The department of agriculture trained the women in vegetable gardening skills and will hopefully soon sponsor a shaded covering that will help a lot with water saving and keeping the soil wet and plants healthy.
All along, the women are making sewing and beaded products and selling it to the community, slowly and surely raising some funds with longer term sustainability in mind.
On 12 september 2015, we installed a 2200 litre water tank and pipes. This was an exciting step for the Tirhani Vasati project, as this meant efficient watering of the gardens, not having to depend on a shared community tap when water is available. Water shortages are however posing challenges to us all in these times, including to the agricultural activities’ progress.
The electricity connection has recently been established, which also allowed the women to have a heritage day celebration and market day which helped them raise further funds. We now have a maintenance person staying on the property who continue to assist us to keep it safe and maintained.
Most recently, the building was secured with locks, blinds and curtains (made by the women themselves) and therefore the buying of sewing machines is next in line as they already have orders from the community waiting.
The ladies have big dreams, and we are excited for Waterberg Toyota Bela-bela to be part of this story.
The raising up of communities by empowering women to create workable and sustainable solutions to their everyday poverty, food and education challenges is currently such an important intervention in South Africa. In the least, this project does so much for the feelings of belonging, pride and community unity for these women, and that in itself is a significant change driver.
We believe that this project will go from strength to strength and be a beacon of pride and hope for both the community of Hammanskraal and Waterberg Toyota Bela-Bela.