CAST recently hosted a Graduation Day for participants who successfully completed the Business Growth Course in Lamontville. Four of the ladies in this programme are part of a Sewing & Support Group launched this year at Lamontville Baptist Church, and spoke about how their lives have changed since joining CAST:
When/how did you first hear about CAST?
Florence Mbutho: I’ve been involved with CAST for many years, and first heard about it from neighbours who directed me to get help. I had been living on a social grant.
Thembekile Dube: I’ve been involved with CAST for 3-4 months. I heard about it from a friend who was collecting food parcels. I had been receiving food from the local soup kitchen but soon learnt that not only does CAST help people by distributing food parcels, there are other areas where they help people.
Christina Moloyi: Three years ago, I heard about CAST through neighbours. I was going through family difficulties, and came to CAST for help and was added as a food parcel recipient. I am a skilled seamstress and had been selling clothes, but it wasn’t enough to support my family.
Jabulile Sosibo: It’s been 3-4 months that I’ve been involved with CAST, and I also heard about it from a neighbour.
How has your participation in the CAST programmes benefitted you?
Florence: My grandchild started attending WordWorks. I have also benefitted from other CAST programmes. I have even found a ‘sister’ through the support group. I crochet hats, scarves, and recently made a jersey, and am able to improvise the pattern for variety. I previously worked as a cleaner.
Thembekile: I joined the support group and have been knitting. The business training has helped. I previously worked in a clothing factory as a presser and fuser, gaining valuable skills in machine work.
Christina: I joined the support group and find it a good place to share my experiences with other women. I previously worked in a clothing factory as a machinist, but am now learning how to save and run a business, and recently had a request from CAST to sew items for selling.
Jabulile: My children have attended Holiday Club and I have participated in the Sewing Group for Business Development. I am a qualified machinist, having worked with Cover Seam and Overlock Safety machines, becoming well-practiced in the blind stitch techniques.
How has this affected your spiritual life?
Florence: I currently attend an Anglican Church. I have not been able to make it to Lamontville Baptist services because of my leg swelling which has limited my mobility. I also often babysits on Sundays, but would like to attend Lamontville Baptist in future. I once attended a service at Westville Baptist and enjoyed it very much.
Thembekile: Spiritually, I have come to know God, and make time to pray every morning when I wake up. I currently attend the Apostolic Church, but am thinking of going to Wesleyan Church.
Christina: I have learnt to pray and worship God. I currently attend the Dutch Reformed Church, but am still looking for a ‘home’ church.
Jabulile: I was in a bad a space, but started coming to church and have come to know God. I now feel that I have a reason to get up in the morning. I attend Nazareth Church.
Going forward, what are your plans for the future, and what assistance do you need?
Florence: To improve my business, I need to find the right space/location to set up a stand to sell my products. I have a daughter who also knows how to sew, and can assist with networking. I am planning to make traditional skirts, baby wraps, and more crocheted items. I also know a relative who can stitch.
Thembekile: Going forward, I would like to gain more skills in sewing, and get the necessary equipment and capital to start my business. I don’t have any family support. At the moment, I do manicures and sells hair pieces for income.
Christina: I am passionate about sewing and have gained business skills, which I am looking forward to putting into practice. For my business I will need a new overlock machine to make a better quality product with other designs to attract more customers. I feel that I have the skills, but just need the starting capital. My daughter has learnt to how to stitch, so we can work together.
Jabulile: I want to open a Spaza shop and sell fast foods. I will need the equipment, such as plates, a stove and starting capital. I know how to prepare food. One of my daughters attended a culinary school and has learnt how to cook pastry. I see it as a good opportunity to work with my daughter.
If you would like to mentor any of these ladies or learn more about CAST’s Local Economic Development programme, please contact Janet Okoye at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 031 266 8830