Description: Ngezandla Zethu (Talking Beads), a non-profit organisation, was established in 1997 to eradicate poverty in rural and peri-urban areas around Pretoria. Unemployed people are trained in creating traditional beaded items and are equipped with the necessary skills to start their own businesses and train others. Partnerships were formed with government departments, the private sector, non-governmental organisations and international organisations. These include: the National Departments of Education, Arts and Culture, Foreign Affairs, Housing, Communication, Environment Affairs and Tourism, Labour, Business Trust, Eskom, Engen, Vodacom, the UNDP, ITC and the Commonwealth Business Women's Network. These partnerships allowed the project access to new local and international markets and provided funding for the training of people who had no means of generating an income. The project now operates on a national level in the Eastern Cape, Free State, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Limpopo, and Mpumalanga. It has been so successful that training teams have been invited to the North West and the Northern Cape.
Innovation: The quality of products is so high that they are marketed internationally and locally. In order to meet the demand, the organisation trains core groups and they train others in their areas.
Effectiveness: Ngezandla Zethu employs 32 people and sub-contracts to 4500 women when bigger orders are received. An additional 500 trained members will also be sub-contracted. Training was provided to 150 educators, parents and learners. Parents who could not pay school fees are now using the money from sales to pay the fees. This pilot project will be rolled-out in other areas in the future.
Poverty Impact: Positive Women Network--people living with AIDS--were trained by Ngezandla Zethu. They now export and provide a living for themselves. The Lesedi La Sechaba Project was trained by Ngezandla Zethu; they now sub-contract Ngezandla Zethu when they can't cope with orders. People who were formally unemployed are now able to take care of their families. Last year salaries to producers amounted to R600,000.
Sustainability: Since inception, Ngezandla Zethu has received R500,000 in orders from various national and provincial government departments. Consistent income generated has contributed to the organisation being sustainable.
Replication: The project has been replicated in seven provinces and a partnership between CreateSA, a creation of the MAPPSETA and the Department of Labour has resulted in a roll-out of learnerships.