Raising a self-sustaining community.
A community that is self sustaining is well positioned for great development. “Raise yourself ” is the literal translation of the sotho term Iphahamiseng. Registered in 2010, the cooperative has already equipped and transformed lives. An hour with John Mondi, the Coordinator of Iphahamiseng gave birth to this article.
The old adage can be used here with no apologies, ” Give a man a fish and you will have to feed that man the rest of your life. Teach a man to fish and he will feed his own family!” The work that Iphahamiseng has done and continues to do is commendable. This is a for-profit organisation, with the community at heart. The cooperative trains anyone from the community to use their hands to make a living, for free. After gaining skills, any beneficiary can get employment in other companies or organisations that do work related to the skills acquired. The cooperative deals a lot with construction, and has many other facets where anyone and everyone looking for a livelihood can fit.
Fencing, buglar bars, security doors and gates, steel frames, artistic flower stands, flamboyant steel frames, …you can name it. Steelworks is like a daily bread to the men and youths at Iphahamiseng. To prove its worth, the cooperative was given a tender to do the steelwork at Clarens Primary School as the school is being taken to another dimension. That is a great achievement for a child born in 2010. All over Clarens and in establishments close to Clarens the cooperative has also been involved in fencing and other construction works.
The cooperative has personnel well trained to do paving works.
Iphahamiseng is not only focused on the male gender. A number of ladies are doing a great work to feed their families and the community with fresh agricultural produce. They are also supplying restaurants in town with fresh vegetables. Amigos restaurant can testify to this.
Using the tunnel that was established by Trans-Caledon Tunnel Authority (TCTA) for the cooperative, different types of greens are being farmed all year round. When I visited the site, next to the Recycling Centre, I saw a good establishment of green beans, spinach, carrots, onions and tomatoes. I am an eyewitness to this, healthy eating is being advocated by this department, under the Iphahamiseng umbrella.
TCTA did not only donate the tunnel, it also helped in the establishment of a chicken project. A fowl run was thus built near the site of the tunnel. The fowl run is however not functional at the moment but plans to bring it into motion are on the cards.
Mamonini Semase is the Supervisor at the Agricultural site.
FREE SKILLS TRAINING
As I mentioned earlier, the cooperative offers skills development courses to the community for free. Anyone from the community can be trained to work with steel. Up to seven people can be trained at any given point, and the training takes four months. After the training, the beneficiary is given a cetificate that shows the skills attained. They can also be helped to look for jobs in other establishments.
The trainees are first taught how to work with meaurements. From there they are exposed to different types of machines, maintainence, safety precautions and how to use them. After showing an understanding of the machines and welding, the trainees are then given tasks to work on. One task after the other is given until one can work on a variety of jobs.
For more information on Iphahamiseng follow them on twitter @iphahamiseng