Pas­sion cre­ates jobs for ru­ral women

Vuk'uzenzele - - General -

Aburn­ing de­sire to do more to up­lift her com­mu­nity led Lelly Mn­tungwa to re­sign as a re­tail store man­ager and start her own cloth­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing busi­ness.

The 38-year-old from Msinga in KwaZulu-Na­tal says she saw a gap in the mar­ket when a lead­ing re­tailer closed down.

In an ef­fort to re­duce the unem­ploy­ment rate and poverty in the area, she grabbed the op­por­tu­nity to em­power the Msinga com­mu­nity through job cre­ation and skills ca­pac­i­ta­tion.

“In my com­mu­nity, young girls be­ing ab­ducted and forced into mar­riage even at the age of 16 is as com­mon as drop­ping out of school to run a child-headed fam­ily. The sit­u­a­tion com­pelled me to in­ter­vene and de­velop th­ese ‘young wives’ through skills trans­fer,” said Mn­tungwa.

She added that a part­ner­ship with the Depart­ment of Higher Ed­u­ca­tion had been forged to as­sist learn­ers drop­ping out of school to com­plete their ma­tric at no cost with 216 learn­ers al­ready part of the pro­gramme.

With­out any fi­nan­cial as­sis­tance, she started her en­trepreneurial jour­ney and now af­fords more than 60 peo­ple a liv­ing.

“Women in re­mote ar­eas don’t have ac­cess to in­for­ma­tion and re­sources to thrive and are ne­glected. Ru­ral life is still very much dom­i­nated by a pa­tri­ar­chal sys­tem where women find them­selves work­ing harder to prove them­selves.”

She said per­se­ver­ance and hard work were her recipes for suc­cess in life and that the onus was on the in­di­vid­ual to take ad­van­tage of the op­por­tu­ni­ties to suc­ceed.

“I am not afraid of a chal­lenge and I am some­what of a risk taker. I be­lieve skills trans­fer is a sus­tain­able gift - it can em­power peo­ple to be­come in­come gen­er­a­tors and sur­vive dur­ing dif­fi­cult sit­u­a­tions.”

Trade & In­vest­ment KwaZulu-Na­tal (TIKZN) whose man­date is to pro­mote KZN as an in­vest­ment des­ti­na­tion, pro­vided Mn­tungwa with busi­ness guid­ance.

“The turn­ing point in my ca­reer was in 2016 when TIKZN did an Umziny­athi Dis­trict Mu­nic­i­pal­ity road­show. I was given an op­por­tu­nity as an up-and-com­ing en­tre­pre­neur to de­liver a pre­sen­ta­tion at the road­show.

“Even though I prob­a­bly had the least ex­pe­ri­ence in the room, I cap­i­talised on the op­por­tu­nity given to me by TIKZN to ex­pose my busi­ness.

“TIKZN en­cour­aged me to view my busi­ness on a much larger scale and to iden­tify op­por­tu­ni­ties to mar­ket my prod­ucts in­ter­na­tion­ally,” She said.

Lo­cal women of uMsinga in KwaZulu-Na­tal are now equipped with cloth­ing man­u­fac­tur­ing skills.

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