Johannesburg, 9 May 2017 – Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” Participants from the Riversands Upcycling Programme in partnership with Coca-Cola South Africa such as Mavis Ndou are a testament to this. The programme aims to provide a platform for seamstresses to develop their technical skills, build their business acumen and access new markets.
Ndou enrolled on the programme shortly after it commenced in early 2016 and her tenacity has paid off handsomely. Under the guidance of programme co-ordinator, Lise Kuhle as well as the team at Riversands Incubation Hub, she’s become independent. She now earns a steady income to support herself, four children and two orphaned children in her family. Her recent and proudest accomplishments include:
- Purchasing three industrial sewing machines;
- Providing sewing training to individuals from her community of Diepsloot at Riversands on weekends; and
- Relocating her business to Diepsloot to be closer to her clients.
In addition, since being on the programme, Ndou managed to save enough money to buy building materials for a house she’s building at home in Limpopo – proof that it has nothing to do with what you earn, but about how you control what you earn.
Ndou has always shown a strong desire to work towards a better future for herself and family. As such, she applied herself selflessly to improving her sewing skills on the programme, learnt to use an industrial machine and to make different types of bags using recycled materials. In addition, she completed various modules such as merchandising, manufacturing, production technical, sales as well as costing.
While Ndou has made great strides, she doesn’t plan on slowing down
Her future plans include growing her business and buying another sewing machine so she can continue to train more people. “Being on the Coke project has made a big difference in my life. I have enjoyed being at Riversands, especially working with Lise; she has always been supportive and she continues to encourage me,” says Ndou.
She admits that life isn’t easy and sometimes she struggles to provide for everyone who depends on her, but her faith keeps her strong. She says the two orphaned children she provides for also drive her to always try harder. “It’s painful when they call me saying they need maize meal so they can eat and I don’t have much to give them. But, I always try to give them whatever I have and I know that God never gives you anything more than you can bear,” she says.
Mavis Ndou’s life before joining the Riversands Upcycling Programme in partnership with Coca-Cola South Africa
Ndou, originally from Venda in Limpopo, used to spend her days in Diepsloot – where she’s based -sewing church clothes for people in the area. Due to the fact that people didn’t need new items of church clothing regularly, she wasn’t generating a steady income and had to rely on her mother to support her financially. However, her fortunes changed when a friend of hers told her about the Riversands Upcycling Programme in partnership with Coca-Cola South Africa.
By Simangele Mzizi