North West district welcomes first disabled-run co-op
People living with disabilities near Wolmaransstad in the North West have started what may be the district’s first disabled-run cooperative in a bid to create jobs.
Lebaleng Garden and Cleaning Youth Cooperative was the brainchild of Tsietsi Mosetsi and three other people living with disabilities in Lebaleng, about 100 kms outside Klerksdorp.
“As the disabled people, we realised that we can do something different in the community,” said Mosetsi who is paralysed from the waist down and uses a wheelchair. “We aim to promote healthy living and garden improvement within the community, creating jobs especially for disadvantaged people so that they can put food on the table.”
“Opening a cooperative initiative, is not an easy task and we have already spent much money from our own pockets just to shows our commitment and insure that we achieve our goal,” Mosetsi told OurHealth.
According to Peter Bolao who works with the National Youth Development Agency and municipal initiatives to foster small business, the cooperative may be the first in the district to be comprised of people living with disabilities.
“This is the first time in the whole Dr. Kenneth Kaunda District that I have seen disabled people grouped themselves with one idea of opening a cooperative initiative,” said Peter Bolao, who has pledged to work with the group to ensure they meet the legal requirements for opening a cooperative as many in the group cannot read.
The group is also currently soliciting donations to begin work from local businesses.
Lucia Motsemme works with the Department of Social Development’s local office. She recently visited the group to commend members for their initiative.
“I am very impressed about your decision to start your work from your own pockets,” she said. “Government will be happy to see people with disabilities stand up, start their own business cooperative initiatives and not only depend on pensions.”