Despite the recent spotlight of the World Cup, South Africa remains a country struggling with steep unemployment and one of the world’s worst HIV/AIDS crises.
Poverty is particularly widespread in the Northwest province of South Africa . According to the government, unemployment for the region stands at 30%. What’s more, over 60% of the working age population is considered to be “not economically active”. As a result, household incomes, especially in the townships, are very low, producing dire shortfalls in nutrition, education, housing, access to health care and the overall quality of life. In addition to the dismal employment situation, South Africa is dealing with one of the world’s highest HIV/AIDS infection rates – UNAIDS puts the rate at 21.5% of adults.
As adults fall ill and die of AIDS, their deaths produce a second tragedy of millions of children who have lost their parents. These children then must be cared for by relatives, many of whom have few resources themselves, exacerbating a downward spiral of poverty. Ikussasa’s program budget calls for $93,400 in outside funding to cover new loan capital and local operating expenditures.
With full funding, the program will expand outreach to over 400 families, empowering them to support themselves through their own businesses.
Founded in 2004, the Ikussasa program equips the very poor to establish their own vibrant microenterprises, thereby serving their communities with needed goods and services while earning an income to support themselves and their families. In addition, these micro-entrepreneurs provide role models for the benefits of honest work in communities where such examples are sorely needed. Using both individual and group lending methodologies, coupled with basic training, the program offers access to essential lending and savings services. EndPoverty.org is working with Ikussasa to help parents, guardians and caregivers start and expand successful micro-businesses.