There is nothing more exciting seeing motivated people working together to bring change to their own community.
The community of Magabeni comprises of about 200 homesteads. The people living here have to travel kilometres to mill their corn into the staple ‘mealie meal’. They then have to carry the heavy bags of maize on their heads or in wheelbarrows because transport in this area is very scarce. More times than not it is the women and children who do this work, taking away vital time that could be used for study and home duties.
This community decided to take action and lobby for change. They visited Operation Hope and put forward their case for the need of a milling house, a project that would not only service their community but also a nearby community of 150.
Partnership is about enabling the community to see their own strengths and abilities and encouraging them to try and do as much as they can themselves. We helped them understand the process of what they needed to do to get such a big project underway and then left them to begin.
It was some months later that we were invited to visit once again and were so surprised to see that they had formed a working committee, opened a bank account and gained permission from the umphagatsi (local chiefdom). But it didn’t end there – they had already begun to raise the walls and start the build. This was one motivated group!
Operation Hope helped them finish the building by supplying materials for the roof, electricity connection, fencing and a water tank. They would often ask our local team to come and visit them to see their progress as they love this form of encouragement. We would find them sifting the sand, bringing building blocks closer to the builder and fetching water. We are now waiting on the constituency to provide the milling machine.
This form of collaboration is what we are all about as an organisation. It is so exciting to see small communities grasp that concept. By doing most of the work themselves there is a real sense of pride and ownership. This project has been a true example of community development at its best. Well done Magabeni community!