Sinekhona: We have talent

Supporting parents of children with disabilities through Skills Development

At the start of June 2019, an exciting new project kicked off with the Siyakwazi team and some of their partners. ‘Sinekhono’, translated form isiZulu as ‘We have talent’ is an initiative which upskills parents/ caregivers of children with disabilities. The first project kicked off with a 6-week sewing course with Neli of (WowZulu, a local community development initiative) and Carly Ledward, Durban-based designer and friend of Siyakwazi.

The reality for many parents of children with disabilities is that they must forego full-time employment in order to look after their child, especially those whose children are unable to attend mainstream learning centres as a result of the severity of the disability. Sinekhono is designed specifically with these parents in mind and will provide training and upskilling with the hopes of developing future income-generating activities.

Neli Nzimakwe who manages the WowZulu Tourism Centre in kwaNzimakwe and has her own sewing and screen-printing business, as well as bead work, is the main facilitator of the project.  In 2017 Siyakwazi’s ‘Learn through Play’ bags were launched – a fundraising initiative which Neli made the bags for.  The bags were a great success with nearly 150 being sold worldwide.  Click here to read more about our learn & play bag fundraising project.

Neli has developed the sewing curriculum based on business needs and what skills already exist amongst the parents who are part of the training. The goal is to have the women sewing a complete bag on their own by the end of the 6-week course, as well as screen printing capabilities.

This year there is a new design for the bags, linked to a recent theme, Sinezwi “We have a voice”, we’ll be giving out more info about this soon, but the idea is that with their new found skills, these parents will be able to assist Neli in fulfilling large orders, thus earning an income for themselves, whilst supporting Siyakwazi’s fundraising for its programmes.

And this is just the start of the Sinekhono programme which will encourage various artisans to participate in sharing their skills with the community. The holistic model which Siyakwazi adopts is not just about supporting children with disabilities, but also supporting their parents to live fulfilling lives.

For more information about supporting this and similar initiatives please email

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