FREE COURSES FROM THE DEPARTMENT CHANGED MY LIFE” SAYS MOKGELE

“I made sure that we completed the work with my team for us to meet the deadline, although we did not have all the resources such as embroidery machines and we relied on other service providers and here we are today we are all entrepreneurs” she added.
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By Madali Chibambu

  • Gloria Mokgele, founder of Sikhulile Cooperative, transformed her life from unemployment to entrepreneurship after receiving free training from Philani Community Development Centre in Westonaria.
  • Partnering with the Gauteng Department of Social Development, the centre offers skills development programs to beneficiaries, empowering individuals like Mokgele to create jobs and supply school uniforms to over fifty schools in the West Rand.
  • Through mentorship and support, Philani Community Development Centre encourages entrepreneurship and the establishment of cooperatives among disadvantaged communities, fostering economic empowerment and self-sustainability.

The founder of Sikhulile Cooperative, Gloria Mokgele was unemployed until she received free training with Philani Community Development Centre in Westonaria.

The centre has partnered with the Gauteng Department of Social Development to provide skills development for beneficiaries in and around the area.

48-year-old Mokgele from Naledi, Soweto received free training in baking, sewing, fashion, and decoration and has created jobs for unemployed women and youth from Simunye and Bekkersdal. She is currently supplying school uniforms to more than fifty schools in the West Rand.

“I was one of the people who would wake up in the morning clean the house and cook for the family since I did not have money to further my studies. I felt useless and discouraged seeing my peers packing bags and heading to tertiary to study courses of their choice,” Mokgele explained.

“That was until someone referred me to Philani Community Development Centre to enquire about free courses after staying home for years without getting a job. I was not sure since I was told it was a free course, at the back of my mind, I told myself that I was not going to get employment since it was a free course,” she said.

According to Mokgele, the centre was far from her home, and she did not have money for transport but luckily for her she got assistance from the founder.

Mokgele says in 2005 she was welcomed by the founder of Philani Community Development Centre Phyllis Malope, who took her through all the courses and since she had enough time, she was able to complete a few courses at one time. She was then encouraged to start a cooperative with other women who received the same training.

By then the Gauteng Department of Social Development had introduced the School Uniform Project where cooperatives were encouraged to supply school uniforms to their local schools. They succeeded and their cooperative was called and funded by the department.

“I made sure that we completed the work with my team for us to meet the deadline, although we did not have all the resources such as embroidery machines and we relied on other service providers and here we are today we are all entrepreneurs” she added.

Puseletso Lekometsa is one of the employees at Sikhulile Cooperative who used to be a domestic worker for many years, and she was a breadwinner to her family. Today Lekometsa is proud to say that she is permanently employed and receives a salary every month.

“I appreciate what the government has done for people like us who thought we would die as  domestic workers but today I carry a handbag to work like other women,” says Lekometsa.

The founder of Philani Community Development Centre Phyllis Malope said they always encourage people to start their own cooperatives and NPOs instead of waiting for someone to employ them.

“I am immensely proud today that I was able to mentor women from disadvantaged communities to become better people by creating jobs for the unemployed. I would also like to thank the Gauteng Department of Social Development for playing a vital role and believing in us,” said Malope.

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