The Paper Recycling Association of South Africa (PRASA) recently guided 17 members of the Durban and uMzimkhulu branches of the KZN Society for the Blind through a three-day Entrepreneurship Course.
Empowering course content
The course provides participants with introductory business training and equips them with the necessary skills required to venture forth as entrepreneurs, be it in recycling, home baking or dressmaking. While the course focuses on generating a sustainable income from the recovery and collection of recyclable paper and packaging, the importance of separation at source is emphasised because higher prices are paid for separated, clean and good quality recyclables.
PRASA’s activities are aligned with government’s waste management objectives and the course content runs parallel with government’s strategy to alleviate poverty through job creation, community upliftment, ownership and participation in small business.
Adapting material for better understanding and interaction
PRASA operations director Ursula Henneberry and her team tailored the course to suit the 10 partially sighted and seven disabled participants who attended the course. Some modules were condensed and the type size of the training material was considerably increased for easier reading. “We wanted to ensure that we created more a practical and interactive course that allowed for more ‘hear, touch, feel’ training,” explains Henneberry.
Course participant Thobekile Makhathini shared: “I am grateful for this opportunity given to people with disabilities, thus ensuring that the disadvantaged can do something for themselves and also contribute to the economy.”
On reading the following comments from some of the participants Henneberry was confident and excited that the course had achieved its objective:
- I feel comfortable and confident. I just feel strong.
- I am very happy that we will start our own recycling business.
- The training material was excellent and good quality. Books that they give to us were easy to read and understand.
- The course motivated me very much because I’m an unemployed person. Now I have got something I will do every day and I will teach others about recycling because there are people who don’t know about the importance of recycling.
- I feel like starting even today because we learnt a lot that we never knew, and we also want to go further. Please help us even more.
Support the Society with your recyclables
PRASA and Society programme manager, Sibonelo Buthelezi are collaborating to demarcate and secure a suitable site on the Society’s premises. Once this is up and running householders, businesses, friends of the KZN Blind Society and the general public will be requested to bring all their recyclables (paper, cardboard, milk and juice cartons, glass, PET and cans) to that site.
The newly trained entrepreneurs will then sort, and sell their recyclables to buyers thereby generating an income for themselves and actively contributing to the economy.
Nelly Buthelezi, project manager, could barely contain her excitement as she told Henneberry that “the people PRASA trained are so keen and have started collecting at their homes already. They come to my office all the time to ask when is the site going to be ready”.
“It is wonderful that PRASA has given our people opportunities equal to able bodied citizens of the country. They now have a sense of purpose and have been shown a way to support themselves,’ Buthelezi said.
Henneberry added that there are a number of buyers in the area which the budding entrepreneurs have visited to clinch deals for the collection of their recyclables. Some of them are working with different schools near their homes and have asked the principals to allocate to them a space where they can store recyclable materials they have collected in the area as well as allow pupils to bring their recyclables to school.
The PRASA Entrepreneurship Course is funded by the Fibre Processing and Manufacturing Sector Education and Training Agency (FP&M SETA) and has has come a very long way in a relatively short space of time. Since its inception more than 3,500 fledgling recycling entrepreneurs have had access to a sustainable economic lifeline.
It will soon be accredited and incorporated into the SETA’s Quality Council for Trades and Occupation Programme.