Jeannette Niyidufasha is one such woman who works to empower other women and share valuable skills, whether it’s personal development skills, business savviness or vocational training.
In 2013 Jeanette was uninspired at her first job and resigned, instead taking up the duties of caring for her house and family. “A friend challenged me to learn sewing and make something of my life. Even though she didn’t like it at first, she would wake me up early and make me learn,” she says.
In 2016, Jeanette decided to pursue a teaching training at CPUT. She didn’t have money to afford the class books, so she started selling pencil cases which she had sewn. These became so popular that at some point the Head of Department stood in front of the class, looked out at the students and asked, “Where did all of you get your pencil cases?”
“She then allowed me to use the space at CPUT to give sewing lessons. At first I started giving lessons free of charge to high school students and at a cheap price for women,” says Jeannette. In trying to expand her sewing business, Jeanette came across Scalabrini. Jeanette went into the office looking for help in finding a marketplace where she could sell her products. She was directed to the Women’s Platform. As part of Women’s Platform’s intake, women must take a compulsory Personal Development course.
The personal development course aims to enhance women’s self-awareness and the sense of self as a resource while improving personal development skills, such as effective communication, goal setting, conflict resolution, and job-seeking skills. “Looking back at the experience, it taught me to value my own opinion and value myself. It gave me confidence and more inspiration for my business,” mentions Jeannette. Following the course, she attended an information session where she learnt about the small business course. The Women’s Platform also connected her to a network of people to befriend and sell to, so she wanted to use all the opportunities to grow herself, her business and her network.
With her new Facebook page, (search) Zenzeleni Zenzeleni (which means do it for yourself), she is now advertising her products and running her sewing course every Saturday at CPUT. The aim of her business is not just about herself; it is about giving back and creating opportunities for others. “This is a community upliftment programme that empowers women to learn sewing skills in order for them to use those skills to make profit and be able to feed their families,” says Jeanette.
Small businesses like Jeanette’s Zenzeleni Zenzeleni contribute to the South African economy and help create more jobs. She offers sewing classes on Saturdays at a cost of R130, including material. All items sewn are kept by the learner.
* Contact Jeannette on 0815062448 to book your spot.