37-year-old businesswoman from Skhawini in Northern KZN, Slindile Gwala, shares her story of how CAST’s Local Economic Development programme has helped her develop her baking business and strengthen her relationship with God.
‘’Before I joined CAST last year, I was not doing anything. I was not baking cakes, I was not making any hats, I didn’t have a qualification for skills. Basically, I did electrical training from level 1-4. I stayed home and applied for jobs but, no luck.
Then, I went back to study Education for 4 years. Still, I was unemployed until CAST came to our church, Esikhawini Baptist Church and introduced one of their 4 main programmes which is Local Economic Development. Mama Janet explained why it is important to start your own business. The reason why I joined the programme is because I also did know how and where to start a business, how to select your customers, how to collect my money from debtors, but she said something that touched my heart. ‘We are afraid of what we don’t know’. She was right. I can do something instead of waiting for being employed, especially since our country is faced with a high rate of unemployment and time is against me.
Now, I am working with another company. They sent me their product so I can also sell it this side, then I get paid as well and now I don’t have to wait and depend on my husband to give me money. I can provide for myself. Even though I was a Christian before CAST, during the training they also taught us about the importance of God in your business. Everything starts from God. During our training sessions, we stop and make time for worship as if we were at our Sunday service.
What I like more about this programme is that it does not exclude those who are not Christian, but everyone is welcome. I would like to recruit more people who are non-Christian to be part of the programme. Now I have joined another CAST programme which is Education & Child Development. I always love to work with kids and this programme has taught me something I didn’t know, like sounds -how to pronounce words to the younger children. So, we will be helping young children with reading and writing. I am looking forward to helping our future leaders.
What I would like CAST to also do is introduce their Youth Development programme to support youth who feel rejected by their community because of their past behaviour, as well as for the older generation to be more understanding of current issues facing the youth.
Going forward, my dream is to grow my business and become a supplier of baking goods to big stores.’’ To help make this possible for Slindile and many other entrepreneurs in our communities, contact Head of CAST’s Local Economic Development programme, Janet Okoye at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (031) 2668830.