by More Matshediso
A group of women in the Free State are eradicating poverty in Meloding, Virginia, through a community development and nutrition centre that provides daily meals to unemployed and vulnerable residents.
Bomme ba Boithatelo bo Botle consists of a group of women dedicated to serving their community by providing meals to residents who are living below the poverty line.
The organisation was established in 2015 by Pulane Molale (34) but only registered in 2017.
Before starting the organisation, Molale worked for the Community Work Programme (CWP) which is a government initiative that provides a job safety net for unemployed people. It provides a bridging opportunity for unemployed people who are actively looking for employment opportunities.
“I worked at CWP as a children’s trainer in 2012 after completing matric. That was when I realised that many children in my community were impoverished and faced several challenges including poor performance at school and hunger. I decided to do something about it and opened an organisation,” she explained.
To secure food, Bomme ba Boithatelo bo Botle plants its vegetables in a garden within its premises. Vegetables are included in the daily menu to ensure that the food is healthy.
“We also have a youth programme that focuses on assisting school learners with homework and cultural dance activities to keep children away from being exposed to drug and alcohol abuse, gangsterism and other social ills,” said Molale.
In the beginning, about 130 community members benefitted from the services rendered by the organisation, but Molale said the number has now increased to about 200 beneficiaries due to the high unemployment rate in the area.
“So far, we have created jobs for 14 people and we receive stipends from the Department of Social Development. Doing community work does not pay much, but the gratitude we see in the eyes of beneficiaries keeps us going and wanting to do more for them. Seeing improvement in school learners’ performance is also encouraging,” she said.
The department also handed over a container structure that houses a kitchen, dining hall, storage, meeting room and toilet facilities.
Last year, the National Development Agency (NDA) funded the organisation with over R88 000.
The NDA is an entity of the Department of Social Development. It aims to eradicate poverty through grant funding to civil society organisations that implement programmes creating jobs, skills and responding to social welfare issues in disadvantaged communities. The funds from the NDA enabled the non-profit organisation to buy kitchen tools, and serving and catering equipment to serve the community.
The money was also used to buy vegetable garden implements and a 5 000 litres JoJo tank for water, as the premises do not have a water supply.
Additionally, the NDA provides the organisation with ongoing capacity training on financial management, project management and governance.
Another managing member of the organisation, Dimakatso Ntsane, said Bomme ba Boithatelo bo Botle has been fortunate to retain staff over the years, which keeps operations running consistently.
“We are thankful to local retail stores and churches that also support the programme when we call on them. The NDA went beyond the call of duty to also ensure that we get access to electricity from Eskom. We also rent out catering equipment over weekends to get additional income for our daily operations,” said Ntsane.
Molale and her colleagues are proud that many children who benefit from the organisation go on to further their studies once they have completed Grade 12.
The organisation has plans to extend its premises to include a shelter where women can access help when they are affected by gender-based violence.
It also wishes to add an internet café to expand the existing after-school homework programme.
For more information about Bomme ba Boithatelo bo Botle, you can email Pulanemolale140@gmail.com.
Contact the NDA at email@example.com or call 011 018 5500 to find out more information about funding opportunities.
To register a non-profit organisation, you can visit: www.npo.org.za. - SAnews.gov.za
*This story first appeared in Vuk’uzenzele newspaper