Categorized | Cooperatives

A cooperative run entirely by entrepreneurs living with disabilities

cooperatives

They did not ask for handouts or beg for empathy from those who were willing to listen. Instead, realising that no one knew about their plight better than themselves, the people with disabilities decided to do something about their lot and established Sky Dreamers.

Now with 40 members, Sky Dreamers, based in Motherwell, Eastern Cape, is the only cooperative in the country to be run entirely by people with disabilities.

Chairperson, Malibongwe Tshazibane, says, the organisation dispels the myth that people with disabilities are always looking for handouts and society’s pity. “We feel uncomfortable when people regard us as people who depend on government grants. We want to be innovative and be our own bosses. This country is full of opportunities and we want to harness that and create employment,” he clarifies.

The Sky Dreamers’ members have skills spanning areas such as carpentry, welding and building, sewing, art and welding. The organisation helps any type of business, through mentoring and monitoring progress.

In the coming months, Tshazibane says one of the areas in which his organisation will be venturing into is leather manufacturing. This is based on the market research which it conducted which indicated that the industry offered more opportunities than other trades.   “We want to manufacture leather products like belts, wallets, bags and jackets as well as doing car upholstery. The market is plentiful here in the Eastern Cape,” says Tshazibane.

Meanwhile, the organisation, currently run from a shack in Motherwell NU1, opposite a taxi rank, will kickstart a sponsorship drive by approaching businesses in the areas for assistance, as it looks for better premises to operate from.

Though the project launched in 2009, it did not really take off as anticipated until 2008. What stands out is that, notwithstanding financial constraints, the Sky Dreamers’ will never diminished.

Goes on to show that nothing can stop determined minds, despite their limitations, from achieving goals!

Information supplied by Groundup and adapted for Transform SA Online.

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