Participant shows the value of poverty alleviation programmes
Statistics South Africa recently released a Poverty Trends report showing that the number of people living in extreme poverty increased to nearly 14 million between 2011 and 2015.
The report revealed that the people most vulnerable to poverty in our society are children aged 17 or younger, females, black Africans and people living in rural areas, as well as persons with little or no education.
These findings confirm the value of the Working on Fire (WOF) programme, which continues to provide skills, training and employment opportunities to young men and women in disadvantaged communities, to alleviate poverty.
Twenty-seven-year-old Welcome Motha is an excellent example of the impact of the programme.
Born and bred in Barberton just outside Nelspruit, Motha joined WOF in 2010 as a firefighter and has since worked up the ranks to where he now works as a Regional Manager in Mpumalanga. Motha says he found out about the programme by chance.
“After I passed my Grade 12 with flying colours, I applied for registration at the University of Limpopo. I planned on enrolling for a qualification in an education-related field,” he says.
“When I received the acceptance letter, I knew I was well on my way out of poverty. I promised myself that I would work hard to break the devastating cycle of poverty and make my parents proud of me,” says Motha.
But due to financial constraints, Mothawas not able to commence studying. Although he was unemployed for three years after passing Grade 12, this did not deter him and he held onto the hopethat his day would come.
“I remember my mother telling me there was a community meeting and I should attend to find out what it was about.
When I got there, I saw WOF firefighters conducting a door-to-door fire awareness activity.
I immediately knew WOF was a programme I wanted to work for,” he says.
“It was the discipline and teamwork they conveyed that made me want to know more about the programme.”
Shortly after he found out that the programme was training young men and women as community volunteers to provide firefighting services, he volunteered.
“Little did I know that it would be my breakthrough,” he says smiling.
“From the firefighting level, I am now responsible for managing three teams of about 75 firefighters in my province.”
Motha says that apart from the material gains he has been able to achieve over the years, WOF enabled him to realise his dream of studying, as he registered with Intec College and is about to receive his project management certificate.
The father of three daughters has also expressed his commitment to education by investing money towards educating his children.