TAKING PRIDE: Rural entrepreneurs celebrate their achievements. Inset: WDB Trustee Futhi Mtoba, Long Term Achiever Award winner Nxanelikile Mavis Makukule of Mpumalanga and WDB Trustee Zanele Mbeki.
More than 900 women from rural areas of South Africa gathered in Pretoria at the weekend for the Out of Poverty dialogue and awards, hosted by the Women Development Business (WDB).
The WDB, which has been supporting women through its micro-finance programme, honoured the entrepreneurs at a ceremony held in Heartfelt, Thaba Tshwana, Pretoria.
The dialogue was the start of a series of conversations with WDB beneficiaries, with the aim of empowering them and contributing to the building of social cohesion by improving their households’ livelihoods.
Tribute was also paid to rural women who daily confront and courageously overcome the burden of poverty.
During the ceremony, women broke into song in their respective indigenous languages and celebrated SA’s rich tapestry of cultures with their harmonies.
WDB long-term achiever award winner, Nxanelikile Mavis Makukule, of Mpumalanga, said she joined the WDB to improve the future of her children.
“I started in 1992 and I wanted to be able to educate my children. Today I have independent adults who have graduated from the University of the North,” said Makukule.
When she joined WDB, she took out a loan of R300 and this escalated to R10000.
“I grew my business. The organisation doesn’t give away money. We are trained to understand how to keep our books. Today I am able to understand what is meant when people refer to a cashbook. I can even speak English! All this comes from the training we received from the organisation,” she said.
Zanele Mbeki, who is the chairperson of the WDB Trust, said: “WDB is proud to celebrate its women entrepreneurs for their significant contribution to the promotion of economic development and the social upliftment of women and communities.”
Mbeki said micro-finance programme borrowers are growing and have shown resilience in the face of the harsh socio-economic conditions in which they operate.
“It is their consistency and commitment to support their families through their efforts, without looking for ‘delivery from government’, that has sustained us well in the WDB group over the past 20 years,” said Mbeki.