Building the new Livelihoods Access Centre
The widely used but unofficial slogan of Zithulele “Living the Dream”, is coined from Ben and Taryn Gaunt’s (two of Jabulani’s founders) own personal motto of “If you don’t have a dream, you can’t have a dream come true”. Dreams are obviously different for everyone and at a Jabulani staff development day in 2019, we did an exercise about what our dreams for Zithulele were, and it was incredibly inspiring and motivating. The main focus of people’s dreams was for a centre where skills, training or learning could be gained; quite a few wanted a coffee shop where people could gather and spend time together; and then a few mentioned a museum that tells the story of Zithulele (a particularly inspiring suggestion). What was interesting about this “dreaming together” exercise was that unbeknownst to the wider staff team, it has long been a dream of the Jabulani Board and management to have not only a training centre but a locally run coffee shop where local crafts could be sold and a space created where the Zithulele story could be told.
Well, we are literally getting to live the dream because during October 2021 we broke ground for the building of our Livelihoods Access Centre. The centre is based on 13 years of experience of what this community has been asking for with regards to livelihoods development and skills training as well as the varied but small scale work that we have been doing in this arena since 2008 – giving us insight that is invaluable so that we know we are not wasting anyone’s time or money. In addition to our local experience, we will also be using tried and tested tools from around South Africa and the globe so that we aren’t reinventing the wheel. Using asset based development strategy and through skills and employability training, the centre will provide opportunities for empowered community members to develop their own livelihoods and in so doing, to offer hope for the future.
This amazing building is being funded by the Christian Blind Mission (CBM), who for the past nine years have funded Jabulani’s Rural Ability Programme (find out more about this under our Projects section), and the centre will leave a visual and lasting legacy of the role CBM has had on Jabulani’s work and in the lives of many people with disabilities. The centre has been designed to be fully-accessible. The advocacy and awareness raising work that RAP has been doing over the past two years has been so successful in breaking down barriers and eliminating stigma, that the more we can do to bring people with disabilities and able bodied people together, the better. This is the reason behind the name “Livelihoods Access Centre”.
The centre will have two large training rooms; four workshop spaces for use by small business entrepreneurs; rentable space; the coffee shop (and coffee shop garden) including crafters market where local crafters can display their creations; an office automation centre with access to internet, printers, photocopiers etc.; a seedling garden where we will cultivate seeds to sell to those doing our agricultural training; and a landscaped courtyard for events.
To start, the coffee shop is likely to simply be a place for people to meet together and have coffee as well as be a place for a few people to gain employment, but in time and with funding for the correct equipment and certification, it could become a site for barista training. Although it will not be done immediately as we would like to secure specific Cultural and Heritage funding in order to do the job properly, the internal walls of the centre have been designed in such a way as to house large display cases where the story of Zithulele’s history can be displayed once it has been researched and curated – not a full museum perhaps, but a good start.