Photo caption: Abel Malebela
Hard work pays
Losing his job at the age of 44 after suffering a stroke, Abel Malebela was faced with the daunting reality of not knowing how he would provide for his family. “I have two daughters, aged 14 and 17, to support, so sitting at home was not an option.”
Malebela realised that feeling sorry for himself wouldn’t put food on the table, and joined an Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) project in Barolong Ratlou ba ga Seitshiro in the North West.
The project has taught him that hard work pays, and that it has changed the fortunes of many community members.
He is now part of an EPWP project, which helps him to provide for his family. The project, which comprises internal road cleaning, the eradication of alien plants, and cleaning public buildings such as clinics and schools around the community, is also helping him to gain new skills.
“The project has helped me a lot. We get paid R660 a month, which I use to pay my electricity bill and give my kids pocket money.”
Malebela’s says his life was a mess when he lost his job; he remembers days when getting something to eat was a challenge.
“I’ve seen worst days, I know what poverty is and I must say my life has changed for the better through the EPWP project.”
“I hope the EPWP can be extended by 24 months and further help us with a monthly stipend to survive. I’m grateful for the opportunity to be able to feed my daughters and I hope my wish of the extension of the project will be fulfilled.”
Photo caption: Happiness Notwane
Bank account brings cash, happiness
When 31-year-old Happiness Notwane from North West opened her first-ever bank account, she couldn’t hold back the tears of joy. She says it came with a lot of possibilities and hope. She matriculated in 1998, but has since struggled to find sustainable employment, moving from one piece job to another.
“I have a child, and used to depend on my late mother for support. Since she passed away, the situation at home has been difficult, as my mother died while I was still studying for a certificate in computer studies, so I had to drop out.”
In 2010, she joined an EPWP project to clean pavements and eradicate alien plants. The project also helped with cleaning the roads around the communities.
Saving for education
“I was very happy when we got our bank cards from FNB, with the help of the EPWP. I was also able to take out an insurance policy because of the account.”
The stipend made a huge difference, as she is the breadwinner in her family. “Raising a child alone is not easy; and it was made worse when I didn’t earn any income. The stipend made sure I could take care of my child and I also managed saved money to buy a fridge.”
Notwane now plans to save towards her education. “I believe in the importance of education and I’m always looking at opportunities to acquire knowledge.”
Photo caption: Gugulethu Mpama
On the way up
Gugulethu Mpama is a 22-year-old Orange Farm resident. He knows all too well what it feels like to be unemployed. Though he’s still young, Mpama says sitting at home for a year doing nothing was depressing. He matriculated in 2008, but spent the whole of 2009 at home because he did not have money to further his studies.
Times were tough just sitting at home, which he shares with his unemployed father. He promised himself that he would find a job so that he could support his household. “I was doing nothing at home. We would just pass time with friends and kept on wishing for good things to happen.”
Mpama was fortunate enough to join the Expanded Public Works Programmes’s (EPWP) Intsika Skills Project, where people are taught skills such as jewellery making. “I joined the project in 2010 and haven’t looked back since. I’m determined to make a success of this opportunity that I’ve been given.”
As breadwinner, he says he has realised that drinking away his stipend will not put food on his household’s table. “I use the stipend money to buy food for the house, rather than spending it on useless things.”
He adds that he saved money to buy clothes for himself, using the rest for transport, so that he could continue with the project. His future looks bright, as he intends to pursue a career as a goldsmith after finishing his time at the project. He says the jewellery industry is very profitable if you’re committed to work hard, and is confident that he will succeed.
“I’m grateful for the opportunity provided by EPWP to be involved in this project. The project’s stipend has been helpful, as without it most of us would be stuck at home. I’ve gained a lot of skills and now I can make a success of my life one day.”
Photo caption: Noah Hugo
You go, Noah
When Noah Hugo lost his job as a security guard in Johannesburg after he suffered a stroke that paralysed the right side of his body, he thought his chances of ever again working were ruined. Hugo has been living with a disability for over four years now.
“There was a time when I thought I’d never find employment because of my condition. I have four children and come from a rural area in the Northern Cape, where the majority of people are unemployed. However, I didn’t want to use my disability as an excuse not to support my family.”
Hope for life
Instead of giving up hope, he joined Hope for Life, an organisation that works with the Expanded Public Works Programme on a recycling project. The 48-year-old is now a supervisor with 20 people under his guidance. “We recycle paper, cardboard boxes, glass and plastic. The project is very busy.”
The project has played a major role in making life easier for Hugo and his family. It also helped Hugo to believe in himself and his ability to be an able provider. “Through the project, I’ve managed to send all my children to school; I’m now a proud provider for my family,” he said.
“My strong point has always been perseverance. Many people living with the same condition would have stayed at home and felt sorry for themselves. But from a young age, I was never someone to give up, even when it seemed difficult to succeed. Today I’m living proof that perseverance pays.”
For more information, call the Department of Public Works on 012 310 5134 or the toll-free number for Artisans and Engineers 0800 782 542