Women construct own future

WOMEN in the Walmer township are working hard to kick unemployment to the curb and stand together in support of uplifting their community.

A housing project run by a women’s co-operative to supply more than 2 200 houses in Walmer township (Gqebera) has created employment for locals in the community, especially women.

In celebration of Women’s Month, the organisers are aiming to get more women involved in the project and to ensure that the youth in Walmer receives employment as well.

“The Umzi WaseGqebera Hou-sing Development Association, which is in charge of building the houses, spent nearly R264 million for the project,” Umzi WaseGqebera Housing Development Association chairperson, Wandile Gxekwa said.

“The women co-operatives, who were trained by Umzi WaseGqebera, are in charge of the installation of electricity, aluminium windows and construction works. We are also planning to give women more training to be able to do other work as well,” said Gxekwa.

The women co-ops receive certificates for their training and skill courses to ensure employment af­ter the project. One of the women, Thobeka Zaze, was unemployed before this new chapter in her life.

“I want to teach children how to do this type of work and be able to give back in my community.

“I have gained a lot of knowledge while working on this project and I would like to share that with my community,” Zaze said.

Babalwa Rafani, a recent graduate, is part of a team responsible for the assembling and installation of aluminium windows for all the houses.

“Women don’t usually do these types of work and we are so fortunate to have obtained these skills.

“People made fun of us for working on this project and told us we were not going to make it.

“We proved them otherwise,” Rafani said.

Another of the women, Nolubabalo Ngcaphe, said that Umzi WaseGqebera had made it possible for her to receive training and a chance to earn an income.

“I now know how to install aluminium windows and can use that knowledge to get a job after the project is done.

“It will be good for all women to stand up and find some other things than just the ordinary chores. We should stop underestimating and limiting ourselves.

“We as women can go beyond our boundaries,” Ngcaphe said.

The project is driven by the Walmer community to improve their living conditions and invest in the future of those involved.

Gwekwa added, “There is a need for houses in the Walmer community and we are in the process of training more women to do the plumbing and carpentry.

“These women are not just empowering themselves, but also other women as well.”