South African Street Children
Orphans and vulnerable children, living in a household that is headed either by a terminally-ill parent, a grandparent, a relative or a sibling/child, are given support and assistance through this family strengthening programme. The support package includes material, educational and medical support as well as assistance for income generation activities to guarantee the long-term self-sufficiency of the family.
Assistance and support towards income generation activities generally forms the biggest challenge for the Family Strengthening Programme, but this story shows that even child-headed households can be successful businesspeople. Sifiso is 21 years old and the head of the family since his parents passed away in 2003. He is looking after two siblings who are still at school. He himself left school when he had to care for his sick mother and due to these circumstances was not able to finish secondary school.
Part of the family strengthening programmes at Nelspruit is to hold regular workshops for beneficiaries to inform them about income generation possibilities and to assist them with their ideas. It’s during one of these workshops that Sifiso met four other heads/members of sibling-headed households (altogether the group consists of 13 children). As a group they decided to start a grass cutting project since they have already had respective skills. Their company is registered as ‘Mpo & Sifiso’s grass cutting’. In the beginning, the young entrepreneurs were supported with start-up material and investments, as well as given assistance in developing their own business plan and constitution and getting registered as a trust. They also got training in areas like project management, strategic planning, fundraising, accountability and marketing.
Through their commitment and hard work, they have managed to already secure two big contracts: one from the local municipality and one from a primary school in their community. As a result, material support, such as food parcels had been withdrawn, because they have now the means to grow or buy their own food, as well as to make savings to meet other needs. For example, Sifiso saved enough money to buy himself a bed – before he always had to sleep on the floor. Well done and keep up the good work!
Sifiso is showing us his vegetable garden that he keeps at the backyard of the family’s house.