WHEN YOU EMPOWER A WOMAN, YOU EMPOWER HER FAMILY, COMMUNITY AND NATION

This is the vision of Amanda Solomon and her mom Gill, co-founders of H18 Foundation NPO. Operational since August 2016, this Social Upliftment Programme, provides training and upskill in the craft of crochet to unemployed women, mostly refugees, living in subhuman conditions in Joe Slovo township, Milnerton, Cape Town.

H18 provides a safe, comfortable, and family-orientated working space – a converted home – where the women are supplied with materials, given on-site training, supervised….and where the finished product is immediately purchased back from the ladies, as part of the outcomes-based remuneration model. The core objectives are UPSKILL, EMPOWER, UPLIFT,  all within an environment focused on increased self-worth whilst maintaining environmentally sustainable practices.

All this is done in a loving and caring environment, where their children can play and still be with their moms, where there are outings and excursions for the kids, where it is all about family. Since inception over 150 ladies have been empowered and moved on to full-time employment, they currently have 30 ladies working at the Foundation.

Their goals are to grow the manufacturing side of H18 with new and innovative products and provide skills training for the ladies in administrative processes to run and manage the Foundation themselves. Ultimately leading to sustainable growth and development of the Foundation into a successful self-sustaining company.

 SINCE COVID-19, H18 HAS BEEN RAISING FUNDS TO DISTRIBUTE WEEKLY FOOD PARCELS TO THEIR MEMBERS.

Says Amanda “We have to try and help our 30 ladies and another 30 that once worked with the H18 Family, stay safe during this crisis. We need to help them buy food, eat , pay rent and stay healthy. We are also trying to keep H18 Foundation viable on the other side of this crisis, so that we can continue to Uplift, Upskill, and Empower – these ladies have nowhere else to go.

Still required to social distance and with limited product sales – these ladies have now lost much of their income and cannot feed their families and pay rent.

Confined to one room with their family and sharing ablution facilities, they do not have taps in their room (referred to as a ‘hok’), and their living conditions immediately compromises their health. Without nourishment their immune systems will weaken, and they will become more susceptible to viruses and bacteria within these shared spaces.