State of the Nation  2024


Cultivating a path to success


Impact stories
Image: Rethabile Mohapi

Rethabile Mohapi's story, like many others in Moletsane, Soweto, is one of resilience in the face of adversity. A single mother and aspiring civil engineer, Rethabile was forced to put her study dreams on hold due to financial constraints. Yet thanks to support from several government-backed initiatives, her path has now taken an inspiring turn.

As part of the Presidential Employment Stimulus, the Social Employment Fund (SEF) aims to create temporary employment opportunities for young people by partnering with community organisations and NGOs. Through a collaborative effort between the SEF and the Federation of the Urban Poor (FEDUP), Rethabile discovered a programme that reignited her aspirations.

The initiative focused on empowering individuals involved in community gardens by equipping them with innovative growbag technology and valuable technical and gardening knowledge, as well as skills such as time management, administration, leadership and communication.

The programme not only provided a monthly stipend to ease financial burdens, but also offered an avenue to cultivate a more sustainable and productive garden project, benefitting both Rethabile and her community.

The financial security provided by the stipend allowed Rethabile to not only meet her family's immediate needs but also invest in her future. With newfound confidence, she re-enrolled in her civil engineering studies at Molapo Tech TVET College. By the end of 2023, she was well on her way to completing her qualification, while continuing to save with the SEF programme.

As she dreams of becoming a qualified civil engineer and using her skills to create job opportunities for others, Rethabile is a testament to the transformative power of the SEF programme.

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