Mooiplaas is a lovely rural village in Mpumalanga, but it is an acknowledged poverty pocket of the province. Begun in January, 2002, the Masakhane project was started by a primary school, on closer inspection, severe poverty, joblessness, nearly no infrastructure, gangsterism, substance abuse, very limited knowledge on Human rights, illiteracy, orphans, household headed by children and HIV/AIDS was witnessed. Objectives include immediate relief for those with nothing, the creation of sustainable jobs, replacing drugs with sport, informing people of their rights, register all the orphans, arrange for Home Affairs to assist the community with their documentation, correspond with Water Affairs to investigate the water shortages in Mooiplaas and surrounding areas (the water is currently directly from the river), regular HIV/AIDS campaigns and finally to ensure that Ebuhleni Primary is owned by the community.
Innovation: As a primary school, the aim is not only to develop learners holistically, but also involve different Departments and the private sector to try and curb poverty and build the community by starting entrepreneurial businesses. Youth is given a goal to work for and is now introduced to sporty lifestyles; infrastructure (water) is being bettered.
Effectiveness: Job Creation through a nursery that is in its first phase of operational. The nearest nursery is 250 km away, so this one is in demand. It has been requested to cultivate 100 000 seedlings, as well as orange and nut trees. Litsembaletfu Business has enabled local entrepreneurs to plan for a store in Mooiplaas, supplying all the schools with uniforms of good quality and affordable. The business can expand to provide more jobs. A Peace Garden is underway as well, the whole community set to benefit from it. Poverty Relief assisted families via immediate relief and later permanent assistance from government. Community members now have ID's and birth certificates. Sport participation - not only locally, but also regionally and provincially. PARE - Linking Peace and Anti-Racism Education with the curriculum, helped to redress issues of the past. It shows an alternative to violence. 10% will gain financially from job creation. 34 schools will benefit visiting the nursery and agriculture project. Total costs thus far include: toilets and water tanks - R52 000 donated, Nursery - R20 000 donated, Peace Garden - The amount that will be sponsored is still unknown to us. Telephone and Transport out of pocket expenses.
Poverty Impact: Hunger, provision of clothes, supply of means to plant vegetables, attending to personal documents, promote entrepreneurial businesses, awareness of grants available and guiding community member to apply.
Sustainability: Both our entrepreneurial businesses are sustainable and operate effectively. It will grow from strength to strength. There is much excitement in the community about the projects. Only financial
Constraints are holding the project back from much needed expansion.
Replication: is possible, because although each community is unique, the rural communities in the country face the same challenges. People must be motivated to be self-sufficient. Land care issues need to be addressed in many rural areas. Nurseries can benefit any community. Main constraints would to find sponsorships by lobbying and networking with the public and government.