Stonecutters Lodge between Dullstroom & Lydenburg in Mpumalanga supports the entrepreneurial projects of the local rural community
The plight of the rural community close to Stonecutters Lodge is a story that is played out in communities throughout South Africa. A large percentage of the community is jobless and many will never be employed. The lodge plays an active part in uplifting the local disadvantaged community in the rural village of Emshinini on Coromandel Estate. Most of our staff are drawn from this village and we take an active interest in the welfare of our staff both past and present: food hampers are delivered monthly to the homes of our staff and we also contribute to other households whom we know to be in need.
We have a close involvement with the primary school and every year we attend the year-end prize-giving and donate prizes for the children who receive dictionaries, calculators and stationery. Through our efforts Massmart has donated school backpacks filled with stationery, we have sourced a donation of a load of Bibles for the church and we have collected clothes to be handed out to the needy. But jobs, rather than hand-outs remain the priority and the encouragement of entrepreneurial skills is paramount. When sourcing new uniforms for our female staff last month, we were thrilled to learn of a competent seamstress in Emshinini.
Using last year’s caftan blouse as a pattern, Flora made 10 beautiful tops out of the African themed local print we had bought. She has a good sewing machine and an overlocker and produced a most professional product at the same rate that we would have paid locally in Lydenburg.
In the same vein, some time ago we realized that Mathayi Mgiba who lives on the hillside opposite Stonecutters has some wood-carving skills. We nurtured his talent , buying him materials and books on bead work and wirework.
We regularly supply him with our recycled beverage cans and bottle tops which he transforms into geckos, wire pictures and other items!He has been producing and selling for some years now and we are hoping that the new Workshop Gallery we are launching at Stonecutters will give Mathayi an additional outlet. This gallery had its birth in an artgroup which we have formed with like-minded amateur artists in our area. We meet on a weekly basis and this new creative space is a studio and gallery: we will be participating in the Art Meander which forms part of the Dullstroom Art Festival which takes place from the 16-18 December.
Stonecutters Lodge is a Proudly South African Company and as such is only too pleased to support the local rural community as we are among the few who have taken an interest in the plight of these villagers and we have a close connection with their daily struggles. It is so easy to purchase from a cheaper, overseas source but next time your business needs something -look around for the local option which impacts job creation in South Africa positively!