Mtubatuba Self- Help Groups

We've just completed the report for the end of our second year of funding from GAGA- Growth and Goodwill for Africa. They have been supporting the expansion of the self-help group programme in Mtubatuba. Sometimes we need an activity like a writing a report to make us take stock of progress. It's been exciting! There are now 49 groups in the area which include over 550 people. They've saved over R135,000 and started businesses galore.

When our trustees, Rebecca and Tom, visited South Africa in June last year, they spent a day learning more about the groups. Highlights included observing a self-help group meeting. It was interesting to see the formality with which meetings were conducted, for example, if someone was unable to attend, they had to send a letter to the chair. Depending upon the rules created by each group, the chair may change each meeting. Seeing the group meeting and collection of savings in action seemed to illustrate the simple effectiveness of the self help group programme.  You could see how the training to provide the basic administration skills and structure made it possible for the women to achieve things for themselves. Rebecca and Tom also enjoyed hearing about all the women’s business ideas. It was fascinating to observe the different levels of business acumen and experience each group had. Some had fully grasped the concepts of profit and loss whilst others were learning as they went along in terms of pricing their goods.

The Siyahlomula Pre-School

We have raised over £4500 so far towards the cost of the new pre-school in Swayimane. That's through The Big Give Christmas Challenge and our Wine Tasting Evening at The Sugarloaf Vineyard. Thank-you for your generous support! We're busy applying to various donors for the rest of the funds we will need. We will keep you up to date with our progress and when we can start building.

The Close-Knit Community Tree 2014

Zimele’s latest event is on Mother’s Day, March 30th 2014. A large tree in Abergavenny will be ‘yarn bombed’ to form The Close-Knit Community Tree, celebrating the wonderful people in our lives. It will be a place to celebrate people: friends, family or those we admire, whether they are still with us or not. You can dedicate squares to those who are important to you. Each donation of £5 = 1 square = 1 person to be remembered or celebrated. Businesses can get involved too! From £25 they can sponsor a row of squares. All dedications will be displayed by the tree, in a display in Red Square, and on Zimele’s social media.

The Mayor of Abergavenny, Councillor Sheila Woodhouse, will be ‘opening’ The Close-Knit Community Tree. You can join Zimele at 11am on Mother’s Day, 30th March 2014 for the celebration. The location of the tree will remain a secret until the day. Either join Zimele’s mailing list to find out where it is, or follow the trail from St John’s Square by Abergavenny Post Office on the day.

The squares have been produced in 2 places. In KwaZulu Natal women who are part of Zimele’s Fairtrade craft project have boosted their income by making 500 squares. In Abergavenny and other Welsh communities, supporters have been busy too with the support of The Wool Croft, Abergavenny, and Arts Alive Wales. The squares are made from synthetic wool which is harmless to the tree and surrounding environment. After Zimele takes them down, the squares will be washed and recycled into blankets to be used by Welsh charities. The Close-Knit Community Tree project is part of Zimele’s link between Abergavenny and Swayimane in South Africa, through Wales Africa Community Links, funded by the Welsh Government’s Wales for Africa programme.

Please email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   with a list of names for dedication at a cost of £5 per name, and your contact details including your address.