Sonto Ngcobo outside the room she built with her savings.

The house that Sonto built

Youth Day on June 16 is a sombre reminder of the huge challenges facing South Africa’s young people. But while millions wait for help, savings group member Sonto Ngcobo (28) from tiny Nositha village near Margate is getting on with improving her life.

Since her father died some years ago, she has lived in a one-room house with her mother, two sisters and later her three children. No one in the family has a permanent job and they live on social grants.

Ngcobo wasn’t able to finish high school but she’s been making an effort to change her lot. As one of nearly 34 000 (48%) savings group members under 35,her aim is to improve her home and her education, and last year she started to work on completing her grade 12 subjects.

In 2015 she joined a savings group and borrowed first R2000 and then R3000 to buy bricks and zinc. At the group’s first share-out she received R2898 which she used to buy cement, two door frames and windows. She joined a second savings group in 2016 and borrowed money to pay for the roof. Finally, last year in May she built her own room in six days.

With one of her 2017 share-outs she also started building a six-corner room for her mother, and she’s also teaching her family to budget and manage their money better.

“Joining a savings group changed my life style,” she says. “I was wasting money on things that were not right for me and now I know what I want. In five years time I see a huge difference in my life and I hope to fulfil my destiny.  I encourage young people to join SaveAct savings groups because it is important to have your own things, especially when you are young”

 

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