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Ordinary Things

Meet Lindsay, a business mentor to Lindiwe in Lamontville (from last week’s story).  Lindsay is a mom from Westville; she has triplets in Matric.  She also works for her husband’s business.

After Bridgette, the founder of business forum, encouraged Lindsay to volunteer with CAST, Lindsay decided to become Paradigm Shift trainer in KwaDabeka and Lamontville.  Because of her experience as a trainer in a bank, this was a great way to volunteer.  

However, when Lindsay was asked to become a business mentor, she was hesistant.  She was unsure how to help, especially when she compared herself to other mentors.

Eventually Lindsay agreed, and she was paired with Lindiwe who owned a tuck shop in Lamontville.  Their mentor relationship developed, and one day Lindiwe mentioned a new business opportunity.  Lindiwe observed that policemen from the station nearby always went to KFC for lunch, so she wanted to sell crumb chicken from her shop.  Lindsay knew she had a friend who made wonderful crumb chicken, so she invited Lindiwe into her home to learn how to make the chicken from her friend.  Lindiwe was able to expand her business, all because Lindsay had a connection.

Lindsay says about volunteering, “You have to accept what you can do.”  Not everyone can volunteer all their time and resources, but everyone can volunteer some of their time and resources.  

Another volunteer for CAST is Nick.  Nick tutors guys on the KwaDabeka basketball team who are struggling with maths and science.  He comes once a week on Friday afternoons with his friend Corinne to help with homework.

Nick said he comes to KwaDabeka because he knows education is the way out of poverty.  With little resources from their school, the guys on the team needed help to improve their marks.  Nick says about coming from Westville to volunteer in KwaDabeka, “It’s easy to forget.  I want to experience how most of the country lives.”Image

Volunteering is about ordinary people doing ordinary things for the sake of the Kingdom of God.  Everyone has something to offer!  CAST has many opportunities to volunteer in Poverty Relief, Counselling, Youth Development, Educational Assistance, and Business Development.  If you are interested in volunteering with CAST, make sure to attend Westville Baptist’s Ministry Fair this Sunday, which is open after each service, and talk to one of our staff members about how to get involved.

 

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Lindiwe

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It all started with some pamphlets.  A year ago Lee, CAST’s Business Development Manager, was giving out pamphlets advertising the Lamontville business forum.  In Lamontville, Lee found a woman named Lindiwe selling food and asked her to hand out pamphlets to customers.  Lindiwe asked if she could come to the business forum too.

Back in 1990, Lindiwe moved to Durban from the Eastern Cape to work in her aunt’s shop.  She left everything behind, including friends and family.  But then the shop closed, and Lindiwe was left without work.  Two years ago Lindiwe started selling from a table near the bus stop in Lamontville.  Before attending CAST’s business training, Lindiwe was just selling without much strategy.  However, business training taught her how to use tools like advertising, price negotiation, and product specials to increase business.

Lindiwe attended the entire eighteen week business forum and graduated. She was also paired with a mentor who helped her develop her business.IMG_1072

When asked about running a business on her own, Lindiwe stated,

If you are always scared, you will never do anything better for yourself.  To be responsible, you have to stand by yourself.  You have to trust God.”

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Take Me to the Car Wash

‘When I was younger, my friend said to me, “People are suffering in the township. What are you going to do after school, Themba?”

I replied, “I will not let myself suffer. I will do something. I will be like the gogo that sells vegetables; it’s not much, but at least she is earning something.”

Themba Dlamini started developing his entrepreneurial skills from a young age. His dad was the breadwinner of the house and so, when he passed on, there was very little money to support the family of five.  His job experience ranged from selling packets of soup and oranges to working for an air-conditioning company. In his Matric year, money at home got really tight, and Themba was offered a job as a barman at the ICC. Although his teacher tried to persuade him to finish his studies, young Themba knew that his first priority was making sure that there was food on the table for his family.

Because of the economic problems that the country was going through at the time, he lost his job as a barman and it was back to square one. So, he decided to pursue his initial dream of being an entrepreneur and opened up his own car wash in KwaDabeka – the community he had grown up in.

“It was hard. I didn’t have the capital to start the business. I only had water and a square piece of land. But I tried anyway. I would maybe get to wash one car a day and then I would get happy because I was earning R30 from that one car”

It was around this time that Themba heard about CAST’s Paradigm Shift course from his pastor at KwaDabeka Baptist Church. Dennis De Chalain was Themba’s mentor, and he helped to teach and guide Themba as to how to effectively run his car wash. Through Paradigm Shift, Themba was given a loan of R1500, which helped him to buy a proper car port. Slowly, his business started growing. Within a year, it was running effectively, and people were even coming to get their cars washed on the rainy days.

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But 27 year old Themba still dreams of a bigger future for his car wash.

“I want it to be a Shisinyama. For there to be a place where people can hang out, eat food and socialise while their cars are being washed. Maybe even have a big flat screen television so that my customers can watch sports”

At Paradigm Shift, Themba learnt a lot about customers and running a business, but he maintains that one of the biggest lessons he took away with him is that God and business go hand in hand.

“Don’t plan by yourself; put God into your plans cause He is the one that’s going to make it happen for you”

From the boy who sold packets of soup, to the man who never stops dreaming, Themba Dlamini is an inspiration to all of us who just give up when things get a little tough.

“It was not an easy journey. I never had the freedom to do whatever I wanted. But now things are happening and God has been a part of all of it”.

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Shifting Paradigms.

A couple of weeks ago, a group of twelve aspiring entrepreneurs from the Lamontville community, graduated from our Paradigm Shift Business Growth course.

In this eighteen week course, members are trained by volunteers and assigned mentors, both of which are christian, business professionals.  The entrepreneurs are coached and discipled on business topics as well as spiritual topics so that they are equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to run a successful business, whilst keeping God at the centre of their work.

We are so proud of the group that graduated and excited for the new batch of entrepreneurs that have just started the course  in KwaDabeka.

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Believing In Your Dreams.

“I decided taking photos would be a good business. I enjoyed it so much”.

Every kid has a dream.

All it took was a camera at his matric dance to get 18 year old Andile Gumbi to start dreaming. He had often told friends in the Kwadabeka community that he wanted to be a businessman one day, but was never quite sure of what he wanted to do. Then, on the night of his dance, as he was capturing memories with his friends, something clicked.

Eight years later and this determined young man is now running his own video production and photography company called Nyachengo’s, named after his hero, his grandfather.

This is Andile’s story.

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The company was registered in 2011.  The process of registering the company wasn’t hard. I went to SEDA and they gave me instructions on how to register. They gave us one lecture on how to run a business and why it’s important to register your company”. But there was still a lot that Andile needed to learn about being an entrepreneur and running a business.

Through his community, he heard about Paradigm Shift, an organisation that is partnered with CAST. CAST has been involved in running Paradigm Shifts Business Growth Course since January 2012.

As part of the course, the entrepreneurs are given a mentor – a business professional who meets with the entrepreneur once a month to disciple, encourage and help that person to apply what he or she has learnt. Andile’s mentor was a man, from Westville Baptist Church, by the name of Andrew Jameson.

“Andrew taught me not to rush things, that building a business takes time”

Andile thrived during the business forum.  One of the biggest lessons he took away from it is that you have to work hard and fight for your business because the road is not going to be easy. At the business forum he also was encouraged to connect more with God and to read his bible frequently.

Nyachengo’s deals with:  photography, sound system hire and video filming. They specialise in social events and corporate functions.  Their offices are found at Smart Xchange and the business is part of an incubation program there which helps them to develop further. They are able to attend seminars and short courses on business management as well as receive opportunities to network with other people and businesses.

This year the company has already signed two contracts with schools, to manage the capturing of their school photos, and Andile is hoping they can sign a third contract by the middle of the year. The biggest challenge they have had is getting contracts for government projects, but Andile still has faith that the business will eventually reach this achievement.

It all comes back to having dreams. As an 18 year old, he had a dream, a vision for his life. And he pursued that vision. Along the way he encountered Andrew Jameson, the  rest of the business development team from CAST, and a real and active relationship with Jesus. Now he is living out that dream. But the dreaming doesn’t stop there.

He has big hopes for Nyachengos in the next five years; hopes which include new equipment, more staff, a company vehicle, contracts with private companies, and ultimately, a big studio in Durban in which he can hold professional photo shoots.

He was a kid with a dream. Now he is an adult that’s been empowered to believe in his dream.