The Bulungula Incubator is located in one of the poorest and most remote regions of the country with a surfeit of young unemployed people, who (through no fault of their own) have no access to education, capital or other necessary inputs for creating a productive future. We have found that the biggest obstacle to success for our young people is self-belief and the confidence they, their families and their community have in their ability to achieve their goals. One simply cannot leap from this situation into one where a successful and self-sustaining business can be created. Therefore, we are crafting our Job Skills Entrepreneurship Programme (JSEP) to encompass aspects that allow for incremental achievements that build self-confidence and a real sense of accomplishment.
We are located in a farmer’s paradise, with rich soil, water and communal land rights in which every household has access to some arable land. And we have many local market opportunities for farmers. Any produce that is grown can be sold to the Bulungula Incubator (which cooks almost 300 hot meals/day across our projects), at the Bulungula Lodge, and the local trading stores and spaza shops that are still having to transport cabbages from Gqeberha (PE), which is an 8 hour drive away.
To equip JSEP learners with the farming entrepreneurial business skills needed to tap into this market and build a successful career, we partnered with Buhle Farmer’s Academy to offer accredited courses in agriculture and farming. After graduating our pilot class in April, we have expanded the course to not only include theoretical and individual practical components, but also the opportunity of shared learning and guidance from our experienced Masilime Sonke farmers, preparing the Masilime Sonke field. The new approach of the programme requires the learners to farm the Masilme field co-operatively, sharing profit between them, giving the learners direct experience and an appreciation of the profitability of farming, all while enhancing their skills through the mentorships.