Make a dif­fer­ence IN YOUR COM­MU­NITY

Vin­cent Phahlane looks at what your stokvel can do to im­prove the lives of com­mu­nity mem­bers

Move! Stokvel - - Advice -

STOKVELS need to reach out to their com­mu­ni­ties and en­gage with peo­ple from their com­mu­ni­ties to learn more about them in or­der to help. They should en­cour­age com­mu­nity mem­bers to get in­volved in com­mu­nity projects. As a stokvel if you want to be the change you want to see, you should be ac­tive and ef­fec­tive in the com­mu­nity.

GIV­ING BACK

There is so much a stokvel can of­fer the com­mu­nity. The stokvel can give back to the com­mu­nity in dif­fer­ent ways; mem­bers can give money or their time. Giv­ing back to the com­mu­nity can take a va­ri­ety of forms, de­pend­ing on what the com­mu­nity lacks the most.

There are many ideas that can awaken the mem­bers' giv­ing side and serve those who need help in the com­mu­nity.

Ideas range from do­nat­ing items that can be of good use to the com­mu­nity, host­ing a fundrais­ing event, to lend­ing a help­ing hand through vol­un­teer work in the com­mu­nity.

HOW TO START HELP­ING THE COM­MU­NITY

Mak­ing a dif­fer­ence as a stokvel doesn’t have to be com­pli­cated. It is some­thing that needs to come from the heart.

Vuy­iswa Blie from the Style Sis­ters, a stokvel based in Pre­to­ria, ex­plains that their stokvel used many ways to make a dif­fer­ence in their com­mu­nity.

“We have done a lot of vol­un­teer­ing in our com­mu­nity and we are plan­ning to do more. Do­ing vol­un­teer work is good be­cause it brings hap­pi­ness to stokvel mem­bers and also helps them to form a bond,” she says.

Vuy­iswa says be­ing ac­tive in the com­mu­nity takes com­mit­ment from the group.

“It makes us ques­tion what our com­mu­nity means to us. Our stokvel be­lieves that mem­bers should know that the group can play a sig­nif­i­cant role in help­ing the com­mu­nity with their needs,” she adds.

She also shares that a com­mu­nity feels more alive when stokvels vol­un­teer to help with com­mu­nity projects. "It shows that we are also part of the com­mu­nity. Stokvels need to un­der­stand that help­ing the com­mu­nity makes many lives bet­ter.

“Com­mu­ni­ties come across prob­lems, and some­times there aren't enough re­sources to solve those prob­lems. But the more love you pour into help­ing the com­mu­nity, the bet­ter it will be,” says Vuy­iswa.

WAYS TO GET YOUR STOKVEL IN­VOLVED

Vuy­iswa ex­plains that know­ing the peo­ple in your com­mu­nity is a great way to learn how you can help.

In that way, your stokvel can iden­tify peo­ple in the com­mu­nity who are in need and help them by ap­proach­ing busi­nesses in the area with a plan of how they can help.

She men­tions that there is al­ways an easy way to make a dif­fer­ence in the com­mu­nity.

“You can start a col­lec­tion programme or ask for do­na­tions of clothes, win­ter blan­kets and other items to give to those who are in need. Dur­ing hol­i­days such as Christ­mas, we en­cour­age each other to bring sealed non-per­ish­able foods that can be do­nated to lo­cal food banks,” says Vuy­iswa.

"It’s a sim­ple way to make your com­mu­nity bet­ter and to help cre­ate the kind of at­mos­phere that makes peo­ple feel safe and happy. That’s how your stokvel can en­gage with the com­mu­nity as well."

Vuy­iswa says it is im­por­tant to make the most of ev­ery op­por­tu­nity to en­cour­age com­mu­nity in­volve­ment in var­i­ous projects, while us­ing this as a way to mo­ti­vate the mem­bers of the stokvel.

PUT YOUR PLAN INTO AC­TION

Bongiwe Khu­malo, a reg­is­tered so­cial worker from Lady­brand in the Free State, says she be­lieves that in or­der for a stokvel to give back to the com­mu­nity, mem­bers should all come from the same area.

“The first step that a stokvel that wants to give back to the com­mu­nity should do is to draw up a plan that will guide them. If your stokvel wants to start a soup kitchen for ex­am­ple, it is im­por­tant to con­sider the tim­ing be­fore do­ing some­thing for the com­mu­nity,” she ad­vises.

She goes on to say that it is im­por­tant to look at what the com­mu­nity needs. “There is no use do­nat­ing some­thing that the com­mu­nity al­ready has. Try to think out of the box.

"For ex­am­ple, as a stokvel you can in­tro­duce a programme that seeks to ed­u­cate and help chil­dren un­der­stand more about the com­mu­nity they come from. This is needed as our chil­dren know noth­ing about where they come from,” she says.

LET THE STOKVEL COM­MIT­TEE TAKE THE LEAD

Bongiwe adds that the stokvel com­mit­tee is re­spon­si­ble for com­mu­ni­cat­ing with an or­gan­i­sa­tion in the com­mu­nity that the group would like to visit or help.

"From there on, the com­mit­tee will draw a plan go­ing for­ward on the or­gan­i­sa­tion's needs and what the stokvel can do to as­sist," she says.

Ac­cord­ing to Vir­ginia Nx­u­malo, the sec­re­tary of Khomis­hanani Ladies Club based in Soshanguve in Pre­to­ria, stokvels can find pas­sion­ate vol­un­teers to spread the word about what they are do­ing and share in­for­ma­tion via so­cial me­dia.

"Go pub­lic with your plan to make a dif­fer­ence, and tell peo­ple how they can get in­volved. Hold meet­ings to dis­cuss how to put your plan into ac­tion,” she says.

“Some peo­ple pre­fer to help by do­nat­ing money in­stead of their time. Don’t be afraid to ask for do­na­tions or hold fundrais­ing events to raise money you can use for your cause."

Mak­ing a dif­fer­ence is some­thing from the heart

Stokvels can give back to the com­mu­nity by giv­ing their time or do­nat­ing money to or­gan­i­sa­tions in the com­mu­nity. This helps cre­ate an at­mos­phere of ap­pre­ci­a­tion

Stokvel mem­bers should do vol­un­teer work in the com­mu­nity as it can help to cre­ate a bond be­tween mem­bers

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