Community Impact

Meet some of our 'agents of change'

Agent of Change, Sheila Baloyi

Sheila lives in the humble community of Hammanskraal, where unemployment is high and many people live in poor conditions. When we met her in 2021, we realised that Sheila is a hard worker. And she is passionate about making a difference for people in her community. A real AGENT OF CHANGE. This is the kind of person that we, at Siyabonga Africa, want to work with. People who do not just want a hand out, but a hand up ... so that they can be independent and become postive contributors in their communities.

Over the past 8 months, Siyabonga Africa has worked alongside Sheila to build her dream. It has by no means been an easy road. Sheila has made many sacrifices along the way. But, today, she is the owner and founder of Tirhani Fresh Produce, a social enterprise that is bringing food, skills and jobs to Hammanskraal.

She runs a bakery and a community food garden, where she trains people to grow their own food at home. In this way, Sheila is dealing with the issues of food insecurity and unemployment, head-on. And, the majority of people who benefit from Sheila’s work, are WOMEN!

Sheila has adopted Siyabonga Africa’s vision – to see people throughout South Africa FREE FROM POVERTY. We applaud her for the difference that she is making.

Capable, hard-working, driven – Rosemary Gambo is a successful businesswoman and community leader

Rosemary Gambo lives in Umbogintwini, an industrial area south of Durban, where jobs are scarce and poverty is rife. In 2010 she saw the need for a child care facility in her community and decided to open her own creche.

Starting with one small wooden room, she has, over the years, grown her little child care centre into an 11-classroom, brick building, caring for 388 children from birth to 6 years. Children receive nutritious meals and participate in a holistic development programme designed to encourage play and learning.

When Mrs Gambo approached us for help in opening a bakery at her school, we were more than ready to listen. And she had all the right answers! Income from the bakery would help maintain and upgrade the creche, as well as paying for teacher training and food. But beyond that, it would create jobs, while providing access to lower cost bread and other baked goods.

We love a win-win situation. And thanks to support from donor partners like you, we were able to invest in Mrs Gambo's new venture. We provided training in baking, food safety and hygiene, quality control, sales and marketing, business coaching and mentoring. And despite the challenges of lockdowns and load shedding, Mrs Gambo and her bakery team managed to keep the doors open throughout the Covid-19 years.

Today, the bakery operates from two sites and has 5 permanent and 2 part time employees. Every week, 100 loaves of bread are baked and sold to the local community. Mrs Gambo also provides a daily snack for 25 kids from child headed homes. During the July unrest, the bakery operated two shifts and baked 500 loaves per day!

We are proud to work with people like Mrs Gambo ... who have that winning attitude.