Phetoho Success Stories

Martha’s Story

Martha has been a member of a Future Families HIV support group for several years. In September she attended the business skills training for community entrepreneurs and registered with ‘Phetoho’ – a programme that ignites entrepreneurial talent and connects disempowered community members to clothing micro-business opportunities.

Last week we visited Martha and her peers to find out how they are putting their training into practice. Martha was keen to tell us how her business is going, two months down the line, and we were impressed by what we saw and heard.

She has been learning her own sales techniques and business strategies, and together with three friends who also attended the training – Julia, Anna and Linah – has been purchasing good quality second hand clothing from Phetoho at the weekly sales day hosted at the Future Families community office in Mamelodi, and selling the items at a profit to create an income.

She told us with a proud smile that she and her family can now eat before they sleep because of the income that her clothing micro-business is generating. Martha already takes part in the beadwork programme that is offered by Future Families to HIV positive support group members who are unemployed and determined to make an income. With her modest earnings from the beadworks sales she buys as many items of clothing as she can afford, teaming up with Julia, Anna and Linah to pool their stock and create a shop that offers plenty of choice to their growing customer base.

There is a strong bond between the four women, each of whom knows which items are theirs. They all help each other with the selling, but each entrepreneur receives the takings from the clothing items that they individually selected. The community entrepreneurs have diversified their product placement – selling at a variety of different locations – and they have experimented with different selling strategies to make sure that the stock that they buy is all sold on, and preferably with a reasonable mark-up.

Collaboration and enthusiasm has helped Martha create a path to success with her business – well done Martha!

Smiling Martha

Lizzy’s Story

Lizzy always remembers having an entrepreneurial spark. She has been finding things to sell since she was young, and now she has found Phetoho – a micro-business opportunity managed by Future Families Enterprises. Lizzy understands that she must know her market in order to sell the clothes to make a profit. She buys them at a subsidized cost from Future Families and raises the price slightly for her paying customers. She often asks her customers what they are looking for, and their preferred sizes. Then she spends some time looking through the Phetoho stockroom to select the items that she is confident of selling and provide the specific items requested by her customers. Sometimes this may be as specific as ‘a size 34 pair of blue jeans’, which was one of her recent purchases. Lizzy keeps in touch with the Phetoho team, and will be one of the community entrepreneurs that Future Families will offer sales techniques and self-development training to in August 2014.

Lizzy selecting clothes in the Phetoho stock room

Mirriam’s Story

Mirriam became a client with Future Families Sunnyside office on 13 January 2012.  During a home visit conducted by the Social Auxiliary worker Mirriam disclosed that she was the victim of domestic violence and that husband had started to beat her once again. Miriam was admitted to hospital on one occasion and she suffered severe bruising on her whole body and face. Miriam then moved out of her flat, where she was staying with her husband, to Mamelodi, where she hoped to protect her two children by staying with another family until she could figure out her next step.

Future Families’ Sunnyside Team observed Mirriam’s determination to find a better life for herself and her family, and identified her as a potential Phetoho micro-entrepreneur. Though she is a qualified nurse she was not able to work at the time because she trained in Zimbabwe and did not have the correct papers. Future Families invited her to buy second hand clothes that Future Families sourced, and sell them for a profit. Mirriam was offered training a starter pack of clothes to begin her road to success. Since then she shops at Phetoho on a regular, and sometimes weekly, basis to collect new stock at below market prices.

On 11 January 2013 Mirriam met with her Future Families Social Worker to discuss how the project was going. Her clothing micro-business has allowed her to pay her own rent, her child’s school transport, and provides her with enough money for groceries for her family. Mirriam has now returned to her nursing profession: a challenge she was able to address due in part to the stability that her Phetoho micro-enterprise provided her with. Her sister now visits Phetoho in her place as a family clothing micro-business continues to thrive.

Happy Mirriam

Future Families’ Success Stories

I am more than the words that you call me

This story is about a young boy called Leago*.  Leago is the eldest son of two who live in an informal settlement unit in Mamelodi with his parents. Leago is a very quiet boy who always likes to isolate himself from everyone, even his family. Sadly, this introvert behaviour from his family and the community attracted negative impressions that this parents and other people started to call him names such as “stupid”.  His relationship with his family was minimal with little communication. Over time, along with the name calling affected his behaviour and his school work.

During this time a Care Worker from Future Families visited this family to render their social work services.  The Care Worker educated the parents about the upbringing of a child, child and verbal abuse as well as the rights and responsibilities of a child.  During this house visit and conversation, Leogo’s mother realised that her eldest son was unusually quiet and that he had a communication problem.  The Care Worker discussed the situation with the parents and told them that the child’s self-esteem was very low because of them and others calling him names and that they should treat their son in a more loving way. The Care Worker also taught the child about his rights and responsibilities and this too changed the parents’ behaviour towards Leago and they started to treat the child with respect, love and care.

The Care Worker invited Leago to a Children’s Day event. Our national television broadcasters (SABC) were present at this event.  During the event children were picked to talk about what they knew about Children’s Rights and Responsibilities.  Leago was one of the children who were chosen to speak.  The once shy Leago was able to stand and speak in front of people and the camera.  His parents were not present at the event and were so surprised to see him on national television, speaking with confidence and pride about what the Future Families’ Care Worker taught him about Children’s Rights and Responsibilities. They did not expect this from their child who was once quiet and introvert child.  This made them feel proud and grateful for the services that the Care Worker rendered to them.  Leago’s school marks also improved rapidly and he is a happy confident pupil at school now.

Leago’s words to the Care Worker when she visited him was:  “As from now on, nothing will stop me from being who I want to be in the future, not poverty or humiliating word, nothing will stop me”.

This would not be possible without USAID’s support and their contribution has really improved the upbringing of many children such as Leago, giving them the opportunity to rise above circumstances to become a more independent person.

*Names have been changed for their protection


* Photo is not of *Leago