Home is where her heart is

by Bongekile Cecilia Mchunu
7 June 2020
7 June 2020

Many people dream of building a brick-and-mortar home for their parents. Nelisiwe Langa is on her way to actually achieving this dream. What’s incredible is that she’s doing it on a monthly income of R1200 — plus the labour of her family.

Nelisiwe, a 36-year-old single mother, receives a grant of R420 for her child and earns R780 per month working eight days for the province’s Community Work Programme (CWP) near her home in Estcourt. This government programme provides employment ranging from cleaning and maintenance of community gardens to assisting at schools and old age homes.

In 2018 Nelisiwe joined a new savings group that started in Shayamoya, Estcourt, and, once she realised how important it is to save, she joined a second group earlier this year. She is a money counter for the first group and is ambitious, intelligent and optimistic. She has a vision.

Nelisiwe and her child live with her parents and her brother. Food and shelter are provided by her parents while she saves R1000 per month with the two SGs, that goes toward building costs. The construction has been a family effort. Nelisiwe started out taking loans from her first group and buying materials on lay-bye, while working with her brother and father on how to start the foundation of the house.

The loans were used to buy doors, windows, frames, cement and stone. Sand from near the site was obtained for nothing. A large amount of money was saved by the free labour of her brother, a talented brick maker, and her father, a bricklayer.

Nelisiwe says that although her father is elderly he is happy to lend a hand and she has been able to make her dream come true just by saving with the SGs. Her parents say they are very happy to have a daughter like Nelisiwe, who has a positive attitude and thinks about her family, rather than spending her money on doing her hair and buying clothes.

As part of the Saveact team I’m happy for her. Her achievement shows me that the training we give members is important and they take it seriously. I am sure that they will sustain their efforts and do their best in future.

For now, the house is unfinished and Nelisiwe’s dream is on hold. “If it wasn’t for COVID-19 and lockdown the house would be completed by now,” she says ruefully. But the lockdown will end eventually and she has the means, through saving, to complete the project. She acknowledges this.

“Being a member is so amazing because you are able to save money according to your interest. Meeting different members inspired me a lot about being able to do things you wish with your savings. So I appreciate being one of SaveAct’s members. My life has changed. I didn’t think I would be able to build a house for my parents but with Saveact and the support of my family it’s a success. Thank you Saveact for being there for us vulnerable communities, we appreciate you.”

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