By Lesego Ranchu

  • The Etafeni Day Care Centre Trust (EDCCT) in Nyanga provides crucial support to vulnerable groups, offering free services such as quality education, after-school programs, social welfare support, and skills development to women, children, and orphans.
  • With funding from the National Development Agency (NDA) amounting to R386,775.86, the EDCCT has expanded its Sewing Skills Training and Income Generation Programme, which has already trained over 100 women, enabling many to start home-based sewing enterprises or secure employment in factories.
  • The grant will allow 15 new women to complete the sewing programme, receive start-up kits, and register formal businesses. Additionally, Etafeni staff will gain SAQA accreditation, and the existing workshop machinery will be upgraded, further enhancing the centre’s capacity to support the community.

Against the backdrop of increased levels of unemployment and gender-based violence, interventions are needed within communities. In the notorious township of Nyanga lies a beacon of hope for women, children, and orphans. The Etafeni Day Care Centre Trust (EDCCT), formed in 2001, provides a safe space for these vulnerable groups to access quality education, after-school programs, social welfare support, and skills development. An array of services is offered free to the community, including early childhood development services. Unemployed youths have access to life skills programs, and women undergo skills training that allows them to access jobs or start their own enterprises.

The National Development Agency (NDA), an entity of the Department of Social Development, has granted funds amounting to R386,775.86 for the expansion of the Sewing Skills Training and Income Generation Programme, which provides accredited technical sewing skills. Started in 2022, the programme has trained over 100 women to date, with 46 having established home-based sewing enterprises and others employed at sewing factories. As part of the Ministerial Outreach Programme in the Western Cape, the Minister of Social Development, Ms Lindiwe Zulu, visited the Centre to hand over a cheque for the funding granted by the NDA.

The grant funding will ensure that a new group of 15 women undergo and graduate from the training programme. Upon completion, these women will be empowered to register formal businesses and receive start-up kits, including sewing machines, fabric, and haberdashery, to begin or improve their home-based sewing enterprises. Additionally, four Etafeni staff members will obtain SAQA accreditation as facilitators, moderators, and assessors with the Education Training and Development Practices Sector Education and Training Authority (ETDP SETA). Lastly, the existing training workshop machinery will undergo upgrades and maintenance.

“The importance of Centres like Etafeni should not be ignored, they are an impressive institution that caters and responds to the needs of their immediate community. I am particularly encouraged by the deliberate intent to care for and protect children through their early childhood development (ECD) centre and in-house programmes such as the play and group therapies offered by professionals. The past 30 years have shown us that communities are able to come together to find solutions to their problems. I would like to congratulate the staff of Etafeni for the good work they are doing, ECD is a national priority for this country and the Social Development department continues to offer to children of 0-4 years,” said Minister Zulu. 

She further encouraged the women participating in the sewing programme to follow their dreams and make the most of the start-up kits they will receive to improve their lives. One of the participants, Malipuo Cabadiya, experienced a significant positive change since completing the sewing programme. “I was depressed and had no purpose before. I had never touched a sewing machine before I came here. With the generosity and support of other women, I am now a qualified seamstress who is proud and confident. I am looking forward to receiving my starter kit so that I can really improve my productivity. Currently, we are all sharing the machines and can only access them during working hours.”

“At the NDA, we firmly believe in the transformative power of cooperatives and community-owned enterprises as a cornerstone of our strategy to eradicate poverty and uplift marginalised communities. Cooperatives and community-owned enterprises embody the principles of collective ownership, providing a sustainable mechanism for economic empowerment and social cohesion. By supporting and fostering cooperatives and community-owned enterprises, we align our efforts with our core mandate to address poverty at its roots, creating opportunities for income generation, skills development, and resource sharing within communities,” says Ardiel Soeker, NDA Western Cape Provincial Manager. 

Etafeni’s other programmes include an afterschool programme, women’s wellness and income generation, a home food gardens programme, a social work and community development programme, the Power Girls programme, a community and home-based care programme, and the Fit for Life, Fit for Work programme.


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