It is perhaps more important than ever to honour Madiba’s legacy this Mandela Month by supporting vulnerable communities. And that is exactly what many entrepreneurs have chosen to do by using their time to support their communities.
The SAB Foundation supports local entrepreneurs with the aim of helping them grow their enterprises, create jobs and uplift communities, and have decided to share the stories of some of these self-starters who are giving back to their communities.
“Despite facing significant challenges as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, we have been so impressed to find that many of the entrepreneurs we work with are lending a hand to support others in need,” says SAB Foundation director Bridgit Evans.
Evans believes that, in the lead-up to Mandela Day on July 18, it is important to share these stories to inspire others to make a difference. Here are the stories of three such entrepreneurs to spread some good news and inspiration.
Loyiso Mfuku is the founder of Khayelitsha Travel and Tours, a travel agency that provides international tourists with an authentic South African experience. The tourism industry has been brought to a standstill as a result of the pandemic, leaving Loyiso with limited options, and so he has chosen to use this time to support his community.
In partnership with Ke Nako, a Luxembourg-based NGO that promotes education in South Africa, he has developed and launched an urban farming garden in Khayelitsha.
Ten members of the community have been identified and are undergoing a five-week training programme to become urban farmers.
Loyiso is a graduate of the SAB Foundation Tholoana Enterprise Programme.
Melun Jeptha, owner of Ohana Environmental Consultants and Projects, also established two urban gardens on empty plots of land in Hermanus. The first is the Overstrand Care Centre Garden, which is located on the premises of a hospice.
Vegetables grown in the garden will be used to provide nutritious meals to the hospice patients and create employment for locals. Those working in the garden will also become certified, which will help them find jobs in the urban farming sector.
Work has now begun on the second garden, the Franklin Ohana Sustainability Garden. Here members of the community, mainly women, will learn how to make their own compost, as well as how to plant and grow their own food.
Melun is also a graduate of the SAB Foundation Tholoana Enterprise Programme.
In 2019, Vollar founder Kyle Ueckerman won a Development Award at the SAB Foundation Social Innovation and Disability Empowerment Awards.
Vollar is an online platform that allows organisations to incentivise and reward members of a community for doing volunteer work to help others in their area.
When the Covid-19 pandemic hit, their customer market disappeared as organisations could not run social development programmes due to the lockdown.
As a result, Kyle and his team developed a chatbot called Concorona that rewards people for doing daily Covid-19 symptom checks and for completing quizzes about the virus.
Concorona users can use their reward points on Vollar’s website to buy discounts from participating businesses.
“We hope that Concorona can help people access essential products and, in the process, bring new customers to small businesses,” Ueckermann says.
Since launching the innovation, Vollar has already empowered over 18,000 symptom checks and hopes that the data will assist health workers to better understand and respond to the virus.