Crammed into a car are five Rocklands residents – they’re off to attend free skills development classes, including baking, catering, home-based caring, hairdressing, sewing and training related to the pharmaceutical product industry as well as food and retail.
But first they have to complete a compulsory business management course with Cape Venture Projects, a joint venture of private companies bringing free education to communities.
They completed their final test in this module at Heaven’s Shelter House, in Woodlands, on Thursday June 15.
Driver and participant Nicklaus Abrahams, 32, from Rocklands, who was retrenched in December after a decade of service, had seen posters on Facebook of the project being held in Khayelitsha.
He went there with a friend but could not afford driving through every day.
Then he waited and was alerted to programmes in Gugulethu – there too he had wanted to join.
Finally the posters were shared via WhatsApp in Mitchell’s Plain.
The father of two daughters said he does not have matric but now wants to take the time to educate himself.
Mr Abrahams would like to bake and since starting the programme has curbed his spending and started investing in flour, sugar and oil to bake and cook for his family.
“I don’t eat unnecessary stuff and now I make my own stuff. Buy produce,” he said.
He said that it was a new journey for him to tap into his potential. “I am playing with dough and making vetkoek.”
“Every day I bring people with me to learn,“ said Mr Abrahams.
Pastor Zulpha Morris from Heaven’s Shelter House, said it was a great opportunity for the community.
“For them to have dreams and a vision. There are no jobs out there. It is inspiring for the children and to encourage the children to reach their goals and be empowered with knowledge,” she said.
Another participant Musfeeqah Bassadien, 40, from Eastridge, said she has a small baking business but would like to incorporate lessons learnt into growing her enterprise.
“Everyone does things differently but if we work together and help each other we can do great things,” she said.
Ms Bassadien would like to learn more and share it with others.
There are sites in Eerste River, Atlantis, Bishop Lavis, Athlone, Belhar, Graaff-Reinet, Uitenhage, Macassar and now in Woodlands, Mitchell’s Plain.
The Mitchell’s Plain programme started a month ago, where participants were taught the theory of business management and will be exposed to some practical experiences in the workplace in the coming weeks.
Facilitator Anthea Abrahams, from Woodlands, said it was exciting to see people coming together to learn.
Classes are three days a week and a Saturday for those who work during the week.
The duration of the classes is three months.
Project co-ordinator, Lindile Ndlazilwana, said the collaboration began in 2013 and five years later community programmes started.
“The aim of the programme is to fight poverty through education,” he said.
Mr Ndlazilwana said they encouraged entrepreneurship and held information sessions on general social issues, like gender-based violence.
“This is our first time in Mitchell’s Plain; we had some challenges getting a venue but here we are and participants are coming daily,” he said.
The project works via local community organisations to provide skills training in various occupations.
The programme is free except that participants have to buy their uniform at R280.
Mr Ndlazilwana said they would like to empower residents to work and keep the youth occupied with classes.
They also offer free driving licence classes.
Free mobile clinic services will be available at the shelter on Friday June 23.
For more information about services and classes, call project customer relations manager, Shalynn Don, on 064 355 4147.