Our Change Accelerator for May is Ntombenqaba Precious Petros, Co-founder of Masakhe Community Development Programme, a community self-empowerment organisation in South Africa.
What does your organisation do?
MASAKHE (which means ‘we build’ in Xhosa) is a community self-empowerment organisation in Nyanga East and Lower Crossroads. The organisation emerged as a response to the difficult economic situation in the townships. There are not enough jobs for people and unemployment is very high.
We came together as concerned community members and decided to form an organisation to help ourselves and many others who are desperately looking for income.
Our aim is therefore to instil our members with a sense of self-worth, self-respect, dignity and hope for a future. We aim to help our members find employment and a steady income. To have an income and a daily task gives a person dignity.
The organisation started in February 2011. We were a group of 6 women then – women who were not educated and so found it very difficult to find paid employment.
Things have been even harder during Covid-19 lockdown, as we had to shut down operations leaving many families in the community left without support, and without a safe place for their children to go each day.
As a response to this, I started an online funding campaign to help get essential food parcels to children and families in Nyanga East township to that they could survive the lockdown period.
This is something as an organisation we have never done before, and the response was incredible. In just a couple of weeks we were able to raise enough to get food packs together for 56 families.
I also reached out to other NGOs who were running feeding schemes and they were able to support and provide an additional 144 families with food packs.
What motivates you?
I am motivated every day by the people in my community. I see the hope and determination of people who want to make change happen to improve the situation that their community is in.
Their eagerness to do something different and learn new skills, or support others – regardless of their own situation.
Where does your inspiration come from?
My mother played a big role. She always made sure that everything she did came from her heart, focusing on supporting others who were less fortunate than her.
Everything she did was with passion, and she brought people along with her by inspiring others to support people who needed it.
What piece of advice would you give to future change accelerators who want to make a big impact in their work?
Trust yourself. Do everything with confidence and passion.