Author Matthew Kalil visited Jujurha Preschool and read his lastest book, Helga’s Splash, to the children. They were fascinated that the ‘visitor’ read the book in English and their teacher also read it in Xhosa.
A discussion followed about ‘What does an author do?’ We have set up an Authors Table where children can draw their own pictures. Their teacher will then annotate it with written words. This is an important activity in emergent literacy.
Over the past month the participants at the Rural Skills Centre had a valuable lesson in making strong roof trusses and constructing a rather large roof structure. This is quite a technical skill to learn as the trusses have to be made with exact measurements and a good attention to details. The participants worked hard and were very enthusiastic throughout the process!
As part of the Community Work Programme (CWP) we set up the Rural Skills Centre where trainees learn a variety of useful skills like carpentry, permaculture gardening, building using sustainable building methods, metalwork, water harvesting and management, electrical work, plumbing. The trainees work at the Centre full time and participate in monthly Community Outreach Days where they have the opportunity to use their skills to assist households in the village (see blog: “Skills Centre Visits Households” https://bulungulaincubator.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/skills-centre-visits-households/). Their trainer, JP van Walt assesses the progress of the trainees on a bi-annual basis. In the mid-year assessment the trainees have demonstrated significant progress in ‘Using Sustainable Building Methods’, ‘Carpentry Using Locally Available Materials’ and ‘Permaculture Gardening’.
On 22 May the community of Xhora Mouth and the participants of the Community Work Programme (CWP) welcomed representatives from the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA) and the Dhladhla Foundation. Nomntu Yawa from CoGTA has visited our projects many times before and has always been a great supporter of our work. The Dhladhla Foundation are the new Implementing Agents who have been contracted to manage the CWP in our area. Peter Nyawiri, the BI CWP Site Manager, took the visitors through some of our projects in which we now have 200 community members participating.
The community appreciated the opportunity to ask questions about how the programme operates, share challenges they experience and engage in discussions about future plans for the programme. The CWP is a significant support of our Education, Health & Nutrition, Basic Services, and Environmental and Infrastructure Projects.
The construction of the Rural Technical Skills Centre is progressing with 3 apprentices plus one translator already working and one more apprentice to soon join them. The apprentices are learning a variety of skills while building the centre, such sustainable building methods, carpentry and metalwork, permaculture and organic farming, sustainable water management and renewable energy installation. At the end of their apprenticeship they will be able to start their own businesses and provide their expertise to support other projects.
The first floor of the building is already build and stone floor is completed in the bathroom.
The skills the apprentices will acquire are all important for the local community, for example building with natural local materials, compost toilet management, permaculture gardening, solar power installation etc. This way the project will be long term sustainable and the trainees at the centre will be able to establish their own small scale enterprises.
The Bulungula Incubator has created a how to DVD for microenterprise project. This DVD will give you all the information you need to start your own microenterprise in the rural community The microenterprises you will find on the links below are Wool felting, sewing,Rural Home stay and Hair salon.
The DVD is a full length DVD with all the necessary details but you can also watch short video clips of the microenterprises on youtube following the links below. You can obtain the full DVD by contacting Khuselo: email@example.com or on 047 577 8908 (8am – 6pm) and 0731349809(after 6pm). Donations of R50 are encouraged to cover admin and postage costs.
This is the Home stay it’s the accommodation you find in the rural area where you get to stay with the family and learn their everyday life you have your own hurt prepared for you and you eat what they eat if you like you help them with daily chores.
Since we started our Homestay project in 2010 it has been receiving quite a lot of visitors mostly during the holidays and only when the Bulungula backpackers is full. We now get more bookings directly to us and this past festive season was the busiest of all. We really pride ourselves for such a tremendous improvement and now we are getting bookings almost every month!
We have increased the number of our huts to meet the high demand of our guests.
If you want to experience the rural life of the Eastern Cape, the Homestay is the place for you. Stay with one of the families and eat what they eat, you can also choose to do their daily activities with them. Your holiday will never be this rural anywhere else except @ http://bulungulahomestay.wordpress.com/
The Siyakhula Sewing Group continues to grow in leaps and bounds. The Sewing Group got a contract to supply protective wear for the Community Worker Programme (the Community Worker Programme is a government programme under the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs which creates work opportunities. The CWP participants implement community development initiatives). The four members of the Siyakhula Sewing Group were contracted to produce at 150 garments per individual, consisting of work -suit sets and dustcoats.
The Siyakhula Sewing Group is contracted to produce 200 uniforms for the CWP. The sewing group is proud of the fact that 200 people from the Xhora Mouth area will be wearing uniforms that were made by them. Nothembile, one of the sewing mamas, constantly reminds everyone that “zezase Nqileni ezi” (these are from Nqileni village). The sewing group’s work has been impressive for a start and negotiations are already in place for the supply of more uniforms in 2013.
As is always the case with first-time assignments, the job had its own hiccups as the group had to navigate some tough challenges. Top on the challenges list was the unsuitable working environment caused by the absence of electricity or any other alternative power sources for the operation of the sewing machines and lighting. Without electricity, the work becomes labour intensive, time consuming and, at the worst case scenario, can lead to an unprofitable venture.
Despite the challenges, the sewing group soldiered on and produced the uniforms.
Top of Siyakhula Sewing Group’s wish list is a solar system that will provide electric energy to power the sewing machines. With electrically operated machines, production will increase, product quality will improve and the production time will be greatly shortened.
Because of the poor education system and virtually no job market in our community, many young people have dropped out of school and with few skills find themselves wandering aimlessly about with nothing to do. To address this issue the BI is in the process of creating a Rural Skills Centre which will teach useful and appropriate artisan skills to the youth in the Xhora Mouth area. Spearheading this initiative is JP van der Walt, a retired tradesman. Along with being a qualified electrician, JP has also gained a variety of skills over the decades including carpentry, metal working, plumbing, farming, building (both standard and cob building) as well as numerous other skills. He is the purveyor of the now legendary Rocket Showers at the Bulungula Backpackers.
JP has been sharing his skills and knowledge on an informal basis for the past few years, but now through the Rural Skills Centre, he can train the local youth in a formal, more structured manner. Through funding from the Community Workers Program, JP will train 3 apprentices over the period of a year in a variety of skills. Their first task: build the actual Rural Skills Centre using a Cob building technique that relies completely on local materials.
Once the project is up and running, it is expected to become self-sustaining through its various income generating activities.
A DVD documenting how to start enterprises in remote areas has been completed by the Bulungula Incubator. The informational DVD serves as a guide for the establishment of small business ventures in remote and inadequately services areas such as Nqileni village. Production of the DVD was inspired and guided by the lessons learnt in establishing and running business in places that have limited or no access to basic services and where literacy levels are extremely low. The tips, advice and guidelines provided in the DVD are from tried and tested entrepreneurial ventures that have shown considerably high levels of success in rural environments.
The DVD was produced by Carlos Francisco (AHB Films) and Khuselo Gcelu, our in-house film-maker.
The filmed scenes that were used for the production of the DVD are real-life activities of the entrepreneurs oerating their daily businesses. The enterprises that are on the DVD are Takane Felting, Masizakhe Hair Salon, Siyakhula Sewing Group and the Bulungula Homestays.
Funny moments were captured when some scenes had to be filmed more than once by the camera crew. The entrepreneurs could not understand why they had to repeat some tasks that they had just completed. Mama Nothembile had everyone in stitches when she had this to say; “Tyhini! Yhe Nkuli, kutheni nisithi ndithunge kabini. Aniboni uba ndiyigqibile lento? Nithi ndithunge nton ke ngoku?” (Whoa! Nkuli, why do you people say I must sew this thing again? Can’t you see that I have finished sewing it? So what should i sew if you say i do it again?). Veliswa, Nocawe and Bomkazi of Takane Felting couldn’t stop laughing when they were asked to repeat a scene for over five times.