Rebuilding for hope and prosperity
Several concerned Muslim organisations have joined forces to rebuild and to upskill the lives of Isipingo’s fruit and vegetable hawkers, a group of African and Indian traders, who for decades have worked cheek-by-jowl providing an invaluable and affordable service to the local community.
A section of the iconic Isipingo market, central to the very fabric and history of the area South of Durban, KZN was destroyed in the recent lootings that devastated parts of the province and Gauteng.
The spokesperson for the group, Shabir Chohan, said that micro-business were marginal profit enterprises that provided a basic income and that without these enterprises, the owners and their families would face bleak prospects for the future.
“With this in mind, we decided on a strategic intervention where we could have the most socio-economic impact, not just on the hawkers, but on the community as well,” he said.
According to Chohan, the assisting organisations – which have immediate access to accounting, legal, business, finance, humanitarian, and even pastoral skill sets – would be focusing initially on a micro-finance model comprising of grants, loans, and commercial funding for qualifying candidates.
“It is at grassroots where we feel the work has to be done. The funding of the hawkers gives them the opportunity to start up again, and to contribute positively to the economic recovery of the area.”
Chohan added that the reestablishment of a section of the vibrant Isipingo market would allow the REHOP Initiative to upskill and empower the traders as well.
“This is a golden opportunity to help them grow beyond what they were before. Maybe some of them can even become big business owners one day,” he said.
Chohan emphasised that the initiative was being conducted via strategic partnerships, adding that partnerships were the key to recovery. He said the eThekwini authorities, the fruit and vegetable suppliers, financial institutions, and experts were all onboard working towards the same goal of uplifting the market.
“We will be using micro-finance models which will not overwhelm the traders, and together with our experts, will take them hand-in-hand through all the processes of empowerment,” he said.
Chohan added that REHOP had already managed to obtain two shipping containers that were delivered on-site on Saturday 31 July 2021 and serve as a temporary office in place of the permanent office which was petrol bombed and gutted in the process, he said.
“We are totally committed to rebuilding our city. We have to create the social cohesion that is the fabric of stability. We see this REHOP Initiative as an imperative, and by taking one step at a time, we hope to contribute to the emergence of a new dawn where all South Africans can feel safe, secure in the knowledge that they have a future,” he said.
Some of the organisations that are part of this initiative include:
Association of Muslim for Accountants and Lawyers
Growing Hands Enterprise Development NPC
Minara Chamber of Commerce
Muslims for Humanity
National Awqaf Foundation of South Africa
South African Muslim Charitable Trust
United Ulama Council of South Africa
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REHOP had already managed to obtain two shipping containers that were delivered on-site on Saturday 31 July 2021 and serve as a temporary office in place of the permanent office which was petrol bombed.