The Ikhala Trust is a development micro fund which established an office in 2002 as an attempt to ensure that resources, in all forms, are brought closer to the poor and marginalised of the Eastern Cape Province. The following stories highlight some of the community projects Ikhala supports and are an attempt to bring attention to the vast amounts of social capital invested in the province.
Buffalo Chillie Growers Association, East London
The project was initiated by Ms Boniwe Kalo who previously worked at the Department of Labour providing agricultural training to poor communities in and around East London. She was able to identify a niche market for the growing of chillies and set up a membership based organisation of individual growers using their own household land or land allocated by the traditional leaders in the community.
The organisation has linked with a supplier in Durban who purchases their chillies for further production. They have been able to source support from the Dept of Agriculture as well as the Dohne Institute of Agriculture who provides technical support. The project is the only one of its kind and is attracting members every day. These members all have to grow chillies which then get collectively sold to the supplier in Durban. The project team is highly committed and motivated to succeed in what they are doing and has attracted some attention from local authorities with a view to continued support from them.
Siyazama Sewing Project, Somerset East
The project was started three years ago by a small group of women who were unemployed and needed something to generate an income without major capital investment, in the township in a church hall. People were needing church outfits and general affordable clothing. Eventually they were asked by three local schools to produce school uniforms at affordable prices. The project has moved from the church hall into a classroom at one of the local schools which is rented from the municipality. The customers are drawn mainly from Somerset East, but also nearby Pearston and Cookhouse.
The project started with donation of one sewing machine, some chairs and tables. Ikhala Trust’s funds were used to purchase equipment, materials and general administrative costs. Notwithstanding that acute shortage of equipment, materials and a highly unsatisfactory dark unsecured venue, the sewers have carried on with quality sewing, selling, marketing and learning skills and have never been absent from work believing absolutely in the eventual success of the venture. The wonderful co-operation of the local municipality in providing new premises asking a reasonable rental and lighting and sufficient plug points at their own expense. Schools and other businesses are placing orders for their products.
For more on the Ikhala Trust see their entry in the PRODDER directory.