The old saying, “give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime,” is popular because it embraces the principle of facilitating self-sufficiency.
At NOAH (Neighbourhood Old Aged Homes), a non-governmental organisation based in Woodstock and Khayelitsha, Cape Town, we like to go even further and “help sell the fish” – true economic empowerment.
NOAH’s aim is to ensure that social pensioners have their basic needs met, that they have a sense of purpose and that they are able to make a meaningful contribution to their own families, the NOAH family and society as a whole.
Shoprite’s contribution to NOAH over the past two years has been truly impactful because they firmly believe in Social Enterprise Development, enabling better business practices, including at NGOs.
Shoprite first installed a driveway cover at NOAH Woodstock and earlier this year, they installed a much-needed roof covering at NOAH Khayelitsha. These coverings have ensured that our bustling shops and pop-up sale days don’t have to be cancelled due to adverse weather, ensuring that we continue to “sell” no matter what season it is!
After the installation of the driveway cover at NOAH Woodstock, our profits increased from about R15,000 to R44,000 in just one month, proving that a hand up works so much better than a hand out.
We have regular Saturday sales too and, of course, all these events are accompanied by our traditional food sales, which include samoosas, boerie rolls and homemade NOAH loaves from our very own bakery. We also encourage entrepreneurial community members to be part of these events.
In the current financial climate where donor funds are overstretched, NGOs need to generate their own income to ensure they consistently deliver quality services over a long-term period. We can’t only rely on donations and this is why Shoprite’s support is so meaningful because they understand the need to create an entrepreneurial environment.
Ensuring a brighter, more positive future for our communities must be something that we all commit to on an ongoing basis. Like most challenges in life, the solution lies in sustained efforts from within.
Anne Dobson is the Director of NOAH.